By Mohammed Usman
Against the backdrop of confirmation of all ministerial nominees despite petitions against some of them, the Senate majority leader, Senator Ali Ndume has said that all the ministers-designate met the constitutional requirements even as he indicated that petition against Amaechi was controversial.
The majority leader, who brought this to the fore while fielding questions on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) programme ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ monitored by Peoples Daily weekend said, “All I am saying is that Senate’s responsibility was not to ensure the disqualification of anybody, but confirmation. And what do we confirm; it’s whether that individual has met the constitutional requirements. And as far as all the candidates we cleared, they met the constitutional requirements for them to become ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
On petitions against some ministers-designate, the senator said: “As I said, some of the petitions were withdrawn, and the last controversial one which I think I should open up for which I think that is why you call me here is that of Amaechi.”
Ndume, who also said that it is not the responsibility of the senate to because of frivolous petition disqualify anybody added: “Well, as far as the documents available to the Senate were concerned, and as the Senate committee indicated, the judicial panel of inquiry did not indict Amaechi anyway.”
He further stated that the rule of the Senate is very clear on the ground that section 41 that deals with petitions and most especially section 7 of the standing order says that the Senate will not entertain any petition that has judicial remedy.
Ndume also stressed that the Senate is satisfied with the process and they hope Nigerians too are satisfied as they tried to improve on the usual process. He however said they were constrained by some limitations identifying one of them to be the non-indication of portfolios on the list.
He said having the list without portfolios indicated for Senate confirmation is the tradition for now, adding that they hope for a change of it to a situation whereby the list of ministerial nominees will be accompanied by their portfolios.
“That is the tradition for now, but I know that the president is somebody that is availed to change; and that is the mantra of our party; and I am personally concerned and interested in making proposal to that whether it is the law or whatever is amended in order to make this more useful.
I think there should be improvement on what we are doing now and improvement can come when the president nominates people with their portfolios, that way, as a Senator, and you know that a certain individual is proposed to be a Minister of Justice for example, then you will know how to prepare questions and you will know what to expect,” the majority leader buttressed.