Senate tackles Osinbajo over Magu

Senate President Bukola Saraki (L) and Ag President Yemi Osinbajo
Senate President Bukola Saraki (L) and Ag President Yemi Osinbajo

Nigerian senators on Tuesday criticised Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for allegedly questioning their constitutional authority to confirm the nomination of appointees by the executive arm.

Senators also expressed concern about the refusal of the executive to drop Ibrahim Magu as the acting chairman of the EFCC after his nomination was rejected twice by the upper legislative chamber.

At the resumed plenary after the Eid-el-Fitr holidays, Senate President Bukola Saraki said Mr. Osinbajo must respect the laws of the country and the powers of the parliament as enumerated in the Constitution.

The senators backed a series of resolutions against the executive, including one that demanded an immediate retraction of Mr. Osinbajo’s comment, which some of them said was antithetical to a democratic system.

Mr. Osinbajo had sent a request for confirmation of Lanre Gbajabiamila as the Director-General of National Lottery Commission.

Sani Yerima, APC-Zamfara West, prayed that senators should not treat the request because Mr. Osinbajo had dismissed the powers of Senate to confirm nominees.

“Acting President must respect the Constitution and laws enacted by the National Assembly as relating to the confirmation of nominees,” Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West, said while contributing to the motion.

Mr. Melaye also demanded that “the Senate should suspend all issues relating to the confirmation of nominees,” according to a text of proceedings live-tweeted by the Senate handle.

The senators also stopped all confirmation hearings for nominees forwarded by Mr. Osinbajo until all contentious issues surrounding their powers to confirm appointees are resolved.

Other senators took turns to rebuke Mr. Osinbajo and the executive at large for alleged disregard of legislative authority.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, demanded that the law must be obeyed.

Olusola Adeyeye, APC-Osun Central, also said Mr. Osinbajo should not place himself above the law, adding that Nigerians must choose strong institutions over strong individuals.

Kabir Marafa, APC-Zamfara Central, said Mr. Osinbajo must retract his comments, a prayer that was granted after being seconded by Bassey Akpan, PDP-Akwa Ibom North-East.

Laolu Akande, spokesperson for Mr. Osinbajo, did not immediately respond to requests for comments by PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Osinbajo drew the ire of lawmakers when he said in April that the Senate’s powers to confirm nominees were limited.

“I fully agree with Mr. (Femi) Falana that there was no need in the first place to have presented Mr. Magu for confirmation,” the acting president said, citing Section 171 of the Constitution as his authority.

The acting president was declaring the administration’s full support for Mr. Magu, about a month after the anti-graft official was rejected a second time by the Senate.

Senators insisted that Mr. Magu, who has been functioning in an acting capacity since 2015, step down and warned the executive that they won’t even consider listing him up for confirmation hearing if his name is forwarded again.

On the two occasions, the senators officially hinged their decision to reject Mr. Magu on a security report compiled by the State Security Service, a sister law enforcement agency which is also under the control of the executive. Many of the lawmakers are however being investigated or prosecuted for corruption by the EFCC, a situation many believe is influencing their actions against Mr. Magu.

Mr. Osinbajo has not forwarded Mr. Magu’s name again for confirmation, but his refusal to remove Mr. Magu and nominate another candidate for the position has continued to unsettle the lawmakers, who see the stalemate as an affront.

Mr. Magu has said he was prepared to die fighting corruption and rejected calls for his resignation.

The executive is also sparring with the legislature on matters of appropriation.

Last month, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo drew scriticism from Speaker Yakubu Dogara after he reportedly suggested that the power of the legislature to rework appropriation bills was limited.

The speaker said the parliament has absolute constitutional powers to make changes to the budget, admonishing the acting president to seek a judicial interpretation if he sees any ambiguities.

“A declaration as to which of the arms has the power and rights, in as much as it is related to the interpretation of the law, is the function of the judiciary and not of the executive,” Mr. Dogara said.

The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, backed the acting president, saying the legislature should not be making far-reaching amendments to budgets.


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  • Ade

    This senators will soon taste the bitter pills from the masses if care is not taken because holding the president to ransom on issue is getting out of hand , the court is there to interpret the Constitution if there is any misunderstanding but instead of doing that they prefer to play games , I think those recommending the abolition of Senate from the system are right. Look at the insertion of some project into the budget by the lawmakers,why not go straight to court so the court can interpret the law once and for all,instead they will continue to use that to slow down the governing process for next three to five months and then everything die down till next year budget again when the same process will repeat itself again.

    • TUNERI2

      These senators will not taste any bitter pills from any goddam masses. Na today?. Nigerians are among the world most docile group and the senators knows that ”nothing Dey happen”. This country is finished..

      • Steel

        We get your point. Just wait.

    • musa aliyu

      Oga, we also recommend the scrapping of house of Rep! And state houses! We don’t need legislooters and legislooting!

  • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

    I hope PYO will take the gloves off and unleash the law enforcement agents onto these crooks who not only have skeletons in their cupboards, but whose fangs are dripping with blood and corruption.

    PYO, Nigerians will not forgive this admin if you submit the country into the hands of these crooks.

    • Sanssouci

      I’m afraid we’re going to be disappointed once more, I was expecting PYO to assert himself and be in FREAKING charge and sideline anyone inimical to progress, but he has decided to continue with the “One presidency” and ass kissing charade, he even sent Abba Kyari to lead govt delegation for Maitama Sule funeral… suicidal strategy. I have no doubt the senate would have found another excuse to disqualify Magu, but as it stands, it is DSS that has officially blocked his confirmation twice. The presidency’s problems are within the presidency, no way you will stand against Saraki and Co. with a divided house. Have u noticed that even Kabir Marafa an erstwhile staunch and fierce Saraki critic has fallen in line and even contributed his 2 kobo to the debate? the only recalcitrant senator Ndume has been suspended for good measure, watch his new body language when he returns. PYO’s failure to touch the Oke, Babachir cases, or even mundane tasks like swearing in the 2 ministers or receiving ambassadorial nominees have clearly shown he will make zero impact every body knows this deep inside, any other thought is but wishful thinking

  • persona

    Since the FG has gone to court regarding the outcome of the CCT, the senate has began to kick.
    Acting president doesn’t benefit anything if the approvals are not done, we expect the activities done by NASS to be less and that is not disappointing also.
    The call for the scrapping of the NASS, the recall of Melaye and potentially others has necessitated this affront. Why would senators who are asking that institutions be respected now choose to say they will not respect such an institution as FCC when they are called to appear?
    The acting president has been defusing major threats and has the support of Nigerians, senate should watch it because they may have to face the wrath of the masses soon.

    • musa aliyu

      Yes o! Tell them we shall soon flood Abuja to chase them.out should they say ‘kpem!’ to Osinbanjo. The end of legislation is here! Hurray!!!!

  • FineBoy

    In civilized politics, Senate will approach the Supreme Court to interpret the law and not shadow box.
    Bunch of thugs and thieves

    • Dawood

      419 Saraki and his gang of thieves are at it again. Tantrums. They’re seeing Magu in their dreams and it’s very, very disturbing.

  • Tonnero

    Look at all the names, except two, complaining. they are APC. APC lawmakers taking down their own government! What other proof does one need that these are PDP guys in APC clothes?

    • Lukman Asifat

      They are,some of them got to the Senate because the responsible people in their states did not partook in the electoral processes.

  • hh

    Please are these senators need for Nigeria? Always at loggerhead with the executive as if they have no other job than that.
    We pray to God Almighty to deal with these people in His own way

  • IG

    The president should dissolve the palairment immediately if he want any change in this country.

    • Mayo

      The President doesn’t have such powers.

  • Man_Enough

    Even thugs know how to take the law to court instead of their hands. Why can’t the senators take their complaints to court? Protesting by refusing to carry out their duties to Nigerians is the height of rascslity.

  • AFRICANER

    We see the Senators, where’s the president?

    • Lukman Asifat

      Are you in another planet ?.Asking for PMB now.

  • Curtx Maccido

    Shameless bunch of fools …. so osibajo should retract his statement before they can go to work? Lousy bastards…magu will remain EFCC chairman and there’s nothing they can do !!

    • Mayo

      That is a wrong position to take. We have to obey the law even when we don’t like it. If the law says the Senate has the power to confirm the appointment of some people, then those people should not be in office unless confirmed. Besides, you should blame the Presidency and DSS for this mess. Why did the Presidency not obtain a security clearance before forwarding Magu’s name to the Senate? Was it the Senators that asked DSS to write that Magu is not fit for office?

      • Curtx Maccido

        That’s the main point, the law doesn’t require EFCC chairman to be confirmed by the senate…and if the senate are in doubt they can go to court, why should they stop confirmation of other appointments? Threatening to rock the executive function all because of magu acting as the chairman of EFCC….can’t you figure out something must be itching these legislators about magu….do they own the country? Besides EFCC can be run by an acting chairman for as long as the president requires – EFCC chairman is not one of the agencies that require senate confirmation!!

        • Mayo

          If the law doesn’t require senate confirmation, why was Magu’s name sent twice to the Senate for confirmation? Why was Magu appointed as ‘Acting’ chairman pending senate confirmation? Why do you refer to Magu as ‘acting’?

          • Curtx Maccido

            Magu can be called anything that suits the presidency…it’s an executive affairs, besides confirmation of nominees shouldn’t be converted to law making. Shouldn’t you be bothered that these legislators have abandoned their traditional role of law making? Why is there so much noise about confirming the EFCC chairman? It will be useful if you can read and understand s.171 of the constitution and stop blabbing!

          • Mayo

            I have politely engaged you – no abuse of any sort from me. The least you can do is also be civil and stop telling me that I’m blabbing just because I disagree with you. I asked you if Magu is among those that require confirmation. All you have to do is to answer ‘yes’ and refer me to Section 171 of the constitution as your source. Why is it difficult to engage with people who disagree without resorting to insults?

            Finally, enacting laws and confirmation of ‘certain categories of people’ are all part of the job of legislators. One is not more important than the other. This is all part of the ‘checks and balances’ of the constitution.

          • Curtx Maccido

            Well if EFCC act requires confirmation of it chairman by the senate – which senate have refused to do in this case, are they (senate) allowed to recommend sack of the acting chairman? The spirit behind the confirmation is to ensure the ‘people’ (legislators – since they represent the people) are aware of the president nominees and not to turn confirmation provision into cheap blackmailing issue because some legislators are corrupt and rogues. Magu remain the acting chairman of EFCC until confirmed – why should that be a problem for any sane legislator? For record purposes, the primary function of the legislature is to make laws and not fighting over confirmation of president nominee! Again s.2 (3) of EFCC act is inconsistent with s.171 (1) of the constitution….and I expect that you know the constitution is superior when there are inconsistencies.

          • Mayo

            1) You said …The spirit behind the confirmation is to ensure the ‘people’ (legislators – since they represent the people) are aware of the president nominees … That is not true. The spirit behind it is to make sure the President appoints the ‘right’ & ‘qualified’ people or people without ‘conflicting’ interests. If it’s just for people to be aware, then the mandate would have been to gazette the names of the nominees or to publish them in the dailies.

            2) The Senate is not recommending the sack of Magu because as far as the senate is concerned, Magu is not the substantive chairman, he is only acting. The Senate has not recommended Magu leave EFCC but that he should not be the Chairman. These are 2 different things.

            3) I won’t bother responding to your final point because I have already discussed this multiple times before.

            This is my final comment in this discussion. Thanks for engaging with me.

  • SAM .A

    PMB missed a golden opportunity to have dealt a political blow to Saraki after his hankypanky/ metujamba to acquire the Senate seat which has become the fishbone in the neck of APC and cog in the wheel of his progress. When 2elephants fight the grass suffer . The people are suffering why Executive smile to bank monthly while these legislooters padded budget every month and all of them are getting fat with pig neck .
    Time for PYO to deploy his professorial of law and ask Magu to pick up 4 rotten senators ang get them jailed according to the law . The whole country and all the courts are overflowing with cases of corruption , stealing and looting , yet DOGARAT want law that will give this pen robbers and legislooters amnesty and their theft forgiven . Ask OBJ how he did it , it is time to knock senses into these spoilt children of retrogression .Their drum is about to burst . Time to put the rotten ones in jail and allow people to get dividend of democracy . I have spoken my own .

  • SAM .A

    Let we the people call for scap of senate and part time Reps as is done in Texas and some other states in America . The current house and senate as it operates are parasites and leeches on Nigeria economy . The pastor is getting fatter why the members are developing malnutrition. Time for the electorate to wake up and demand for justice # Part Time Legislatures.

  • John Okoh

    Honestly speaking,the Senate has the power to ratify appointments. Osibanjo knows this but since his boss had refused to withdraw the nomination of Magu twice ,it will be difficult for the Acting President to do otherwise. Magu should have withdrawn voluntarily and not see it as a do or die affair. He should do the right thing and withdraw. We have other capable Nigerians that can do the work from where he stops . Alternatively , the Senate should take the case to the Supreme Court for adjudication. There are other serious matters affecting the country that should be addressed. By the way why are the salaries of the senate and the house the highest in the WORLD even though their status should be part time. In addition to these outrageous and humongous salaries , they are given car ,housing furniture, cook, driver, steward ,ward robe allowances .In America, politicians drive themselves to and from work. Nothing like these ridiculous allowances .Ever wonder why politics is the most lucrative profession in Nigeria?Meanwhile graduates are roaming the streets of Nigeria with some becoming ARMED ROBBERS okada drivers ,bus conductors and drivers. WHY SHOULD WE HAVE 36 Ministers , 36 deputy Ministers ,36 Ministers of State and so on and so forth. This phenomenon is repeated in all 36 States. America with 300 million people has only about 10 Secretaries managing the entire country while Nigeria has only about 170-180 million. Can, t you then see where Nigerian money is going, hence no money for developments? Unbelievable .So where did we copy our constitution?Oyinbo dey laugh us.

    • Bayo Ola

      Are you okay at all? Just being curious about your state of mind if you think a senate of criminals have the right to force Magu to resign and “request” for corruption friendly nominee!

      • Mayo

        You can disagree with someone without being rude.

        Yes, the Senate might be full of criminals but that is not the issue here. The issue is – what does the law say? Does the law give the Senate the Power to confirm certain appointees? If so, does Magu fall under the category? If so, then he should not be in office if the Senate has refused to confirm him. We have to learn to build institutions and not people. Magu is not the only person that can run EFCC. Besides, the Presidency gave the Senators the ammunition they used in blocking Magu’s confirmation. Have you forgotten that the Senators based on their rejection of Magu on the Security report sent to them by the DSS?

  • don Corleone

    Nigerians. Talk too much, no action. 468 crooks holding 170million by the balls….even Ghengis Khan wouldn’t have accomplished such a mission…we the masses need to retake our destiny from these hyenas because let’s be honest, the government is helpless, PYO is helpless and frustrated, in fact the frustration contributed 78.8% of PMB’s illness, the man is just hibernating, the man decided he won’t die because of naija wahala…back to subject…we the masses need to set up a militia force with the core mandate of taking out troublemakers “permanently”…equip them with power bikes, sophisticated auto weapons and handy light surface to surface rocket launchers, high calibre sniper rifles with explosive hollow point cartridges, special search and destroy training…something like the SAS, Navy SEALS or Shinbeit of Israel, when they hit a target everything around the target shall be completely neutralized…that’s the only way apart from a coup which is no more fashionable… Even babes can be incorporated for those crooks who love skirts….simple…poisoning which no lousy Nigerian autopsy will discover…these ideas sound extreme but trust me our people would wish it could happens…because MEN, these politicians have finished us totally both physically and spiritually.