SENATE’S JOB IS TO CONFIRM, NOT “SCREEN”
Mr. Taopheek Babayeju, an entrepreneur, and management consultant was the guest on AIT Money Show on Friday 9th of October, 2015.
In an interview anchored by the dynamic host and presenter Nancy Illoh, he affirmed that the Constitution only empowers the Senate to confirm and not to ‘Screen” ministers. Drawing reference from the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Chapter 6 Part 1 Section 141 subsection 2 (Appointment of Ministers) which states that: Any appointment to the office of Minister shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is “confirmed” by the Senate, be made by the President.
He further affirmed that the only condition stipulated by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, according to Chapter 6 Part 1 Section 141 subsection 5 which states that: No person shall be appointed as a Minister of the Government of the Federation unless he is qualified for an election as a member of the House of Representatives. Taopheek is of the opinion that the screening of appointees is the sole responsibility of agencies of government such as the Nigerian Police, DSS, EFCC and that the Senate responsibility is to confirm that the appointees meet the constitutional provisions.
Mr. Babayeju said that the Senate by its tradition of screening is indeed arrogating powers to itself. Reacting to the criteria set by the Senate which include: (1) Provision of Code of Conduct declaration (2) Endorsement by two senators from the nominee’s state and (3) That the nominee should be an indigene of the state, (not by marriage). Mr. Babayeju said the Senate erred with its conditions. On the first criteria, he said that the Constitution Chapter 6 Part 2 Section 209 (Code of Conduct) states that: A person in the public service of a State shall observe and conform to the Code of Conduct. Therefore only an appointed person, already in public service is required to declare his or her assets.
On the second criteria, he went further question why the confirmation of an appointee should be subject to the endorsement of two out of the three Senators from his/her state, what happens in a situation where the appointee comes from a state controlled by the opposition party? Mr. Babayeju also faulted the obvious discrimination of women by denying them their constitutional right to claim their husband’s state of origin.
While responding to reactions on why it took the President four months to come up with the list of obvious appointees, Taopheek said it is only natural for the President to take his time, not in appointing ministers but to do a proper job of assessing the state of the nation. He said it is a standard management practice to gather requirements, identify gaps, assess needs and devise strategies for implementation.
On the personalities of the nominees and the change mantra, Taopheek who is also a Change Management Expert said change is not about bringing on board new faces but introducing new thinking which will change same set of people.
Lastly, Mr. Babayeju said even though it is commendable the level of awareness and interests exhibited by average Nigerians in governance but advised Nigerians to judge the President based on performance and not who he appoints because at the end of the day the bulk stops on his desk.
Note: These are my opinions, subject to superior arguments.
God Bless Nigeria!
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