The Senate will today unveil the list of ministers sent in last week by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ahead of today’s session, lawmakers have said the constitution would be followed strictly and none of the nominees would be allowed to walk free without having undergone serious scrutiny.
The lawmakers may, therefore, raise issues regarding the list of 21 names sent in by the president, as against the 36 names expected, in line with the constitution.
Speaking with journalists, yesterday, in Abuja, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa (People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Abia North) noted that the list was expected to be complete, in line with the Constitution.
“The list will be unveiled tomorrow (today). The Senate President kept to his words that the envelope will remain sealed until tomorrow (today).
“We know that all we have been reading could be speculations until it is opened. It will be read on the floor of the Senate and we will know. Even the 21 that people are speculating will be ascertained tomorrow (today) on the floor.
“The Constitution does not support ministers by batches. Every state must be represented but if the number is not complete, some of us may raise constitutional issues. If we have to wait for another three months for him to send another list comprising representatives of other states, it means those states would be non-functional.
“We will be guided by the constitution and the rules of the senate. This time around, we resolved that we are going to be quite stringent. We are going to ensure that whoever is coming as the minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must be somebody worth the salt; somebody we can rely upon and somebody that would have met the constitutional requirements.
“We are not considering waving any rule. Why should we wave the rule? If we want to do that, it should be before the screening. I believe that at the end of the day Nigerians will be happy because some Nigerians are already saying that the names being speculated were not what they have been waiting for these five months.
“This government has tagged itself as the government of change. If that is the cardinal thing, it will be against this Senate and, indeed, against the President and Nigerians for us to see a very strong allegation that hinges on corruption and we ignore it. If we see a strong petition, definitely we will look into it and follow it to a logical conclusion.
“If it requires writing to the anti-graft agencies like ICPC or EFCC to give us a report on such a person, we will do that because that is what screening is all about. Screening is not a tea party. In Cross River State the appointees are going to write aptitude test.”
Reacting to the decision of the President to appoint himself as Minister of Petroleum, the senator said: “I do not think the President’s name will be on the list and I also do not think that the President will say he is a minister because if you are a minister, one of the conditions is that you must be subjected to screening and approval of the Senate.
“He, as the chief minister, can be there to supervise any ministry, but he cannot be a minister. Whoever is advising him to be minister is not advising him rightly.”