Ministerial Nominees: ‘Lawmakers Ought To Inquire, Scrutinise, Interrogate’ — Atiku’s Camp Faults Senate Screening Method

Daniel Bwala

Spokesperson of the defunct 2023 presidential campaign council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Daniel Bwala has faulted the Senate’s screening process of ministerial nominees that took place on Monday and Tuesday.

According to Bwala, of all the candidates screened by the Senate committee, he could only vouch for the integrity, competence, and character of six

“I don’t know; the people you can trust are not more than six,” he said when he appeared on Channels Television Politics Today programme on Wednesday to discuss current political happenings in the country.

Speaking on the exercise that has screened the likes of former Governors Nasir El-Rufai, and Dave Umahi, the spokesman for Atiku Abubakar said the screening looked more like a comedy than a serious exercise in nation-building.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a legislative branch in this dispensation.

“The essence of the three branches of government is to exercise independence for the good of the country. The legislature is the core, equal branch with the executive.

“As a matter of fact, the very foundation of democracy started first with the legislature,” he said.

Bwala exemplified the early days of modern democracy in the United States (US), where people, through their collective willpower, chose those who would govern them.

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He queried if the same legislative branch of government we have in Nigeria has the independence that is required for them to make laws and checkmate the excesses of the executive branch of government.

The PDP chieftain also made reference to the saga of Godwin Emefiele of the Central Bank of Nigeria, where, as a law-making body, they should have called for a congressional hearing.

“Screening is supposed to be the period by which the legislative branch of government will inquire, scrutinise, and interrogate those people that will be conferred with the secrets and thoughts of the people,” Bwala added.

He also made reference to the unserious nature of the Senators, especially when one of the them claimed to have finished primary school at the age of 3.

He said that what he actually expected from the screening committee was to ask, “Was whether any of them have been investigated by any of the agencies?”

The legal practitioner referenced the U.S. again when he pointed out that the first question they ask ministerial nominees is if “they have the trust of the people?”

He insisted that the screening committee should have devoted more attention to scrutinising the nominees to find out if any of them had been found wanting for fraud or misappropriation of funds instead of focusing on the quality of their university degrees.

Bwala added that if past issues of fraud are not addressed by the legislature in terms of inquiry, they can in the future if confirmed be a torn on the flesh of the administration.