** May confirm them soon
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- THE Senate Wednesday made a U- turn when it received a report from the Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), of 12 screened Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).
The report of INEC screening of twelve Nominees for appointment as Resident Electoral Commissioners was laid by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif, APC, Bauchi and seconded by Senator Mohammed Hassan, PDP, Yobe South.
The presentation of the report was sequel to introduction and reading of the twelve names by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan.
At the Wednesday’s plenary, the Senate received the report from its INEC committee. The twelve nominees are Mrs Asmanu Sani Maikudi from Katsina State; Sam Olugbadebo Olumekun from Ondo State; Mahmud Isah from Kebbi State; Rufus Oloruntoyin Akeju from Lagos State and Riskuwa Shehu from Sokoto State.
Others are Kassim Gana Geidam from Yobe State; Jibrin Ibrahim Zarewa from Kano State; Abdulganiyu Olayinka Raji from Oyo State; Samuel Egwu from Kogi State; Mike Igini from Delta State, Mustapha Zubairu from Niger State and Ahmad Bello Mahmud from Zamfara State.
The nominees are expected to be confirmed in the coming days or weeks.
The action of the Senate yesterday came barely two weeks after it boasted that it would henceforth not consider requests for confirmation of nominees from the presidency.
It would be recalled that the Senate, had on the 4th of July, 2017, vowed that requests from the presidency will not be considered until the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo withdrew a statement credited to him, wherein he was quoted to have said that the Senate does not need to confirm nominees from the executive arm, even as the Senate has asked Osinbajo it apologise.
Meanwhile, Acting President Osinbajo has not tendered any apology or withdrew the controversial statement.
The position of the Senate not to recognize or accept letters from the Presidency followed the reading of a letter sent to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, urging the upper chamber to confirm Lanre Gbajabiamila as the substantive Director-General of the National Lottery Commission (NLC).
Also recall that Senator Ahmed Yerima from Zamfara state, raised Order 14 of the Senate Standing Rules. In his submissions, he argued that since the Acting President had already concluded that the Senate lacked the powers to confirm nominees, there was no need to acknowledge any letter from the executive on issues related to confirmation.
The Senate had accordingly resolved that it would suspend any confirmation of nominees from the executive until issues relating to the power of the Senate to confirm are resolved.
The Senators equally passed a resolution and re-enforced its earlier position that all nominees rejected by the Senate should be relieved of their duties, with a particular reference to the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu.
It would also be recalled that Senate had on Thursday 1 June, 2017 confirmed fifteen out of the twenty- seven Resident Electoral Commissioners submitted for screening and subsequent confirmation by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The confirmation followed the report of the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC screening of 15 Nominees for Appointment as Resident Electoral Commissioners by the Chairman, Senator Suleiman Nazif, APC, Bauchi North.
According to the Committee the other twelve Nominees were still undergoing screening.
Those confirmed then were Hussaini Haliru Pai from the Federal Capital Territory, FCT; Alhaji Ahmad Makama, Bauchi; and Sadiq Abubakar Musa, Kaduna who were reappointed.
Also confirmed as new RECS were Professor Godswill Obioma, Abia; Ibrahim Abdullahi, Adamawa; James Iorliam Apam, Benue; Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, Ebonyi; Dr. Ilona Joseph Valentine Chuks, Enugu; Dr. Nentawe Goshwe Yilwatda, Plateau; Umar Ibrahim, Taraba; Emeka Ononamadu Joseph, Imo; Obo O. Effanga, Cross River; Professor Francis Chukwuemeka Ezeonu, Anambra; Dr. Briyai O. Frankland, Bayelsa; and Agboke Mutiu Olaleke, Ogun.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had on March 23, 2017, written to the Senate, requesting for the screening and subsequent confirmation of twenty- seven Resident Electoral Commissioners.
The Senate had suspended the screening processes for two weeks to protest the President’s inaction on the rejection of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, despite his rejection twice, by the Senate.
In the list sent by president Buhari to the Senate, eight Resident Electoral Commissioners were reappointed and they are Hussaini Haliru Pai from the Federal Capital Territory, FCT; Alhaji Ahmad Makama, Bauchi; Barrister Mike Igini, Delta; Sadiq Abubakar Musa, Kaduna; Jibrin Ibrahim Zarewa, Kano; Ambassador Rufus Akeju, Lagos; Sam Olugbadebo Olumekun, Ondo; and Barrister Kasim Gana Geidam, Yobe.
In the list, nineteen were newly appointed and they Professor Godswill Obioma, Abia; Ibrahim Abdullahi, Adamawa; James Iorliam Apam, Benue; Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, Ebonyi; Dr. Ilona Joseph Valentine Chuks, Enugu; Dr. Asmau Sani Maikudi, Katsina; Dr. Mahmuda Isah, Kebbi; Professor Samuel G. Egwu, Kogi; Professor Mustapha Zubairu, Niger; Agboke Mutiu Olaleke, Ogun; AbdulGaniyu Olayinka Raji, Oyo; Professor Riskuwa A. Shehu, Sokoto; Ahmad Bello Mahmud, Zamfara; Dr. Nentawe Goshwe Yilwatda, Plateau; Umar Ibrahim, Taraba; Emeka Ononamadu Joseph, Imo; Obo O. Effanga, Cross River; Professor Francis Chukwuemeka Ezeonu, Anambra and Dr. Briyai O. Frankland, Bayelsa.