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Amaechi in trouble as Senate sets rules for ministerial screening
Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki

Amaechi in trouble as Senate sets rules for ministerial screening

The Senate has set conditions that President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees must fulfil before they are confirmed ministers.

The senators set the conditions at an executive session that lasted about two hours yesterday.
Senate spokesperson Dino Melaye, who announced the guidelines, said the upper chamber would be “guided by the 1999 Constitution, extant laws of the country, practice and conventions of the Senate.”
He said, in line with that convention, senators had agreed that for a nominee to be cleared as a minister, at least two senators from his state must support his nomination.
“It’s a convention by the Senate, and we have decided to uphold that convention in the sanctity of the integrity of the Senate,” he said.
President Buhari’s party, the APC, has no senators in at least 12 states -11 states in the South-East and the South-South as well as Plateau State.
This requirement has therefore handed absolute powers to the opposition PDP to decide who becomes a minister in President Buhari’s cabinet from those states.
Reacting, however, Senator Melaye dispelled the suggestion that the criteria were targeted at specific nominees.
“Getting the support of two senators is just one of the conditions adopted at the closed door session and it is not that we are targeting any of the nominees. This condition has been there, it is not a new one,” Melaye said.
When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Senator Ita Enang said he would address the press on the criteria set by the Senate.
Senator Melaye also said the nominees are required to present evidence of declaration of assets from the Code of Conduct Bureau before they would be cleared.
He added that nominees must also possess the qualifications prescribed for those aspiring to run for election into the House of Representatives.
Senator Melaye said former lawmakers among the nominees would be given special consideration by being the first to be screened before the others.
“They will be given special consideration but that does not say they will take a bow and go as previously done. During the session, we also resolved that we are not going to be political or regional, the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be our ultimate interest,” he added.
He said the nominees are expected to send 115 copies of their Curriculum Vitaes (CVs) on or before 12th of this month.
After the session, Saraki directed the Ethics Committee, headed by Senator Samuel Anyanwu, to conclude work on the petitions against former Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Mrs. Amina Ibrahim before Tuesday.
President Buhari has submitted names of 21 nominees and their confirmation hearing opens on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, nine of the nominees were at the National Assembly yesterday to submit their CVs.
They are Senator Chris Ngige (Anambra state), Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (Kano State), Audu Ogbeh(Benue State), Senator Udoma Udo Udoma(Akwa Ibom),  Engineer Suleiman Adamu (Jigawa),  Dr. Osagie Ehanire (Edo), Ibrahim Usman Jibril (Nasarawa) and Senator Hadi Sirika.
They submitted the CVs to the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Senator Ita Enang.
In an interview, Enang confirmed the submission of the CVs by the nominees and that the remaining would submit theirs today.

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