As wild jubilation in some parts of Nigeria greets the return of President Muhammadu Buhari from London after over three months medical treatment, fresh crisis is brewing between the Senate and the Presidency over the appointment of nominees.
This followed the directive by Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, that appointees into important federal institutions, should resume duties in acting capacities, pending the confirmation of their appointments by the Senate.
A statement by Bolaji Adebiyi, Permanent Secretary and Director Press Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on Friday, said that the order was to ensure that there was no vacuum in certain important federal institutions.
The appointees include the chairmanship nominee, National Pension Commission, Ali Usman; his counterparts at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CBB) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Mohammed Isah and Bolaji Owasanoye respectively.
But a statement by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, advised the three nominees not to resume work until their nominations are confirmed in accordance with the provision of the constitution and establishment laws of the affected institutions.
In a statement on Saturday, the Senate described the directive by the Acting President as illegal and unconstitutional.
“The leadership of the Senate has been inundated by enquiries from individuals from across the country who want to know whether the statement from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to the effect that the nominees into the headship of PenCom, Code of Conduct Bureau and ICPC should resume work immediately pending their confirmation by the Senate was as a result of an understanding between the executive and the legislature.
“We will like to advise the Acting President who was quoted to have given the directive for the resumption of the nominees that the directive was illegal and not right. The Senate will not support any action that is not in line with the law.
“We advise the nominees to hold on until they are cleared by the Senate as required by the law before resuming in their respective offices. We do not want anything that will cause any problem between the executive and the legislature”, Abdullahi stated.
In a resolution passed in May this year, the Senate condemned the Presidency for allowing Lanre Gbajabiamila to resume as the Director-General, Nigeria Lottery Regulation Commission without legislative approval.
The lawmakers frowned at the resumption of the nominee without an appointment letter and Senate’s confirmation.
They therefore warned Gbajabiamila who is a younger brother to House of Representatives Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, not to be seen within the vicinity of the Commission.
Also on July 4, the upper legislative chamber vowed that requests from the Presidency will not be considered until Osinbajo withdrew a statement credited to him, to the effect that some appointments from the President did not need Senate confirmation.
They also asked the Acting President to comply with its rejection of Ibrahim Magu as Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), by removing him from office. Magu is currently the Acting Chairman of the anti-graft agency.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja