WITH the return of the newly-inaugurated members of the Ninth National Assembly from their first break, the next major assignment for the Senate is the screening and approval of ministerial nominees sent by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The importance of this undertaking is sometimes overlooked by the senators themselves, which was why the “bow and go” syndrome persisted in the past before the senators had to wake up due to the complaints of concerned citizens.
That Section 147 of the Constitution mandates the President to nominate those to work with him as ministers and also empowers the Senate to screen and approve them before they could be appointed is a testimony to the importance it attaches to the exercise. The need for a thorough job is strongly implied.
Secondly, ministerial screening is an important national assignment for the senators. It is a duty that must be done with the best interests of the country put above partisan and selfish considerations. Party supremacy does not arise. We urge the senators not to abdicate this sacred national obligation and ensure we get the best materials to run the country for the next four years.
The importance of competent hands is always germane, but it is more so because President Buhari tends to be reluctant to remove his appointees even when there are serious outcries for one reason or the other. Let us be sure that those who will enjoy this job security can be depended upon not to abuse it or waste the opportunity it presents to serve the nation with utmost merit.
The second term of President Buhari is taking off at a time when the security challenges of the country which we confronted in 2015 have multiplied. The economy, though out of recession, is still anaemic and some experts fear it might succumb again unless greater efforts are applied.
The anti-corruption agenda of the regime is at a crossroads with recovery of funds and assets from officials of past regimes as the only visible effort.
We need a cabinet that will help in the prevention of corruption through the deployment of technology. We need a cabinet that can fix our power supply woes, facilitate job creation and speed up our infrastructural renewal efforts for which we have borrowed and continue to borrow trillions of naira.
We need great attention paid to the education and health sectors. President Buhari and his ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, promised to take Nigerians to “The Next Level” this second term. We want the slogan translated into concrete action. This can only be achieved with a smart Federal Executive Council working under a visionary President.
The Ninth Senate should not hesitate to drop any nominee who does not fit the bill.