The Senate on Thursday confirmed nominees of President Muhammadu Buhari for three public institutions including the Supreme Court, the Nigerian Communications Commission and the Independent National Electoral Commission, ending weeks of hostility towards the president’s requests.
In the previous weeks, the Senate had rejected Mr. Buhari’s request for approval of $29.960 billion external borrowing (rolling) plan; and also trashed the Medium Term Expenditure Framework/ Fiscal Sustainability Paper, describing the fiscal proposals as “empty”, “nothing” and not worth considering.
Even though the Senate confirmed 47 career ambassadorial nominees of the president on Wednesday, it rejected nominations of the 46 non-career diplomats to represent Nigeria abroad, saying the president’s request was trailed by numerous petitions.
President Buhari has been meeting with the leadership of the Senate led by Bukola Saraki to improve on working relations of the two arms of government.
“A visit to the Presidency by the Senate President is a normal thing because we need to consult, discuss, exchange ideas and make suggestions to each other from time to time,” PREMIUM TIMES reported Mr. Saraki as saying on Thursday about the meetings.
“More importantly, at this time, when the nation is facing economic crisis, there is need for frequent engagements by the Presidency and the National Assembly.”
On Thursday, the Senate received reports of three committees and confirmed nominations into positions at the Supreme Court, NCC and INEC.
Following report of its committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters chaired by David Umaru (APC-Niger), the Senate confirmed the nominations of Sidi Bage and Paul Galinge as Justices of the Supreme Court.
Mr. Buhari’s letter of request that they be so confirmed was read by the Senate President on October 20.
In his report, Mr. Umaru said Messrs Galinge and Bage “have sound knowledge of the law and have contributed immensely to the development of the law and enriched the Nigerian legal system through their judgements and rulings as well as presentations at seminars.”
Six INEC Nominees Confirmed
The Senate also confirmed six nominees of Mr. Buhari for the positions of national commissioners of the country’s electrical body, INEC.
The nominees were Okechukwu Ibeanu, Anambra State; May Agbamuche-Mbu, Delta State; Ahmed Muazu, Gombe State; Mohammed Haruna, Niger State; Adekunle Ogunmola, Oyo State; and Abubakar Nahuche, Zamfara State.
The six were cleared by the Abubakar Kyari-led committee on INEC which stated, in its report, that “it was glaring the nominees possessed the requisite academic and administrative experience in addition to their being professionals and outstanding in their areas of calling.”
Their nominations had been forwarded to the Senate on October 18, after an earlier endorsement by the Council of State.
The Senate also confirmed five nominees, out of seven forwarded by Mr. Buhari, to fill vacant positions on the board of NCC, the telecommunications regulatory agency.
Septuagenarian Olabiyi Durojaiye, Ogun State, was confirmed as chairman of the commission, while Sunday Dare, Oyo State, was confirmed as the Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management).
Brushing aside his concerns over his advanced age, the Senate committee, in approving Mr. Durojaiye, born in 1933, stated that, “(he) is a person of unquestionable character who possesses the professional background, personal traits and academic competence required to serve as the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Communications Commission.”
The three others – Ifeanyi Ararume, Imo State; Clement Obaiye, Kogi State; and Okoi Obono-Obla, Cross River – were appointed non-executive commissioners.
Mr. Obono-Obla is currently Mr. Buhari’s special assistant on prosecutions attached to the Ministry of Justice.
Two whose nominations were not recommended for confirmation were Aliyu Abubakar, Bauchi State; and Ezekiel Yissa, Kwara State.
Mr. Abubakar, during his screening, had said the Senate should be scrapped because it was a waste of resources, reaffirming his stance during the #OccupyNASS protest in which he participated in January.
But the committee, formally in its report, said, he was dropped over his responses to the questions and issues raised, which the committee said unveiled him as “a candidate who is not prepared for the demands of the office such as required” of the NCC job.
For Mr. Yissa, a pastor and career nurse, the committee reported that his background “will not put him in good stead to be able to cope effectively with dynamics of the communications sector if his confirmation is confirmed.”