AS the much awaited screening of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees starts from today, Tuesday 13th October 2015, we call on the Senate to approach the exercise with the utmost sense of patriotism and be totally above political and sentimental considerations.
We note with satisfaction that the Senate has tuned into the mood of the nation for a thorough screening exercise to ensure that only the best materials are cleared to serve on the Buhari cabinet and bring about the good governance we all yearn for.
For instance, the Senate has assured that former federal lawmakers on this list would not be given automatic clearance though some other minor privileges will still be extended to them in line with esprit de corps as former lawmakers. To promote probity, the Red Chamber has also pledged that all nominees must present certificates of assets declaration. This is obviously to key the Senate into the Buhari regime’s anti-graft posture.
We, however, wish to call attention to two other criteria for the screening. One is the insistence that at least two senators must support nominees from their states before the candidates are cleared to be sworn-in. The other is the application of Section 147 of the constitution, which demands that a nominee must be an indigene of the state he/she is representing.
We urge the legislators not to use the endorsement of at least two senators from each state in a partisan manner as this might deny the nation of quality ministers. We caution against using it as a means of laying ambush for nominees who may not be in the good books of certain political forces back home. They should emulate the exemplary maturity exhibited by Governor Ayo Fayose, who has called on Ekiti Senators to support the clearance of former Governor Kayode Fayemi, who is from a different political party which had plotted his impeachment only months ago.
Since the constitution insists that nominees from each state must be indigenes, we call for a total relaxation of this rule where it affects women who were born in another state but nominated to represent the state where they are currently married.
We are dismayed that a woman who makes the sacrifice of spending her life with her husband from another state would still be regarded as a “non-indigene” when she is nominated to serve. It is inhuman, unfair and even barbaric to deny a woman in such a manner.
We, therefore, call on the Senate to ignore the petitioners and clear such women, provided they satisfy all other conditions for clearance. The Senate must apply the wisdom and maturity that befits its status and give us nothing but the best.