President of the Senate, David Mark
By Onwuka Nzeshi
President of the Senate, David Mark, Tuesday said the issue of whether or not to contest the 2015 Presidential election should be left to President Goodluck Jonathan as a person to decide.
Mark gave the advice at the confirmation of Mr. Inuwa Abdul-Kadir, a ministerial nominee from Sokoto State.
The nominee was fielding questions from the lawmakers, when Senator Abubakar Sadiq Yar’Adua (Katsina Central) took the floor and asked him what became a controversial question.
Yar’Adua had asked the nominee to assure the Senate that his days as a top official of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) would not becloud his sense of national duty as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He then delved into the vexed issue of the rumoured ambition of President Jonathan to contest the next elections. It came as a hypothetical question.
“You are the immediate past Attorney General of Sokoto State, if the Senate confirms your nomination, the President and Commander- in-Chief may appoint you as Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation.
“As the Chief Law Officer of the Federation, there are rumours going round which Mr. President has denied, that Mr. President is likely to contest for Presidency in 2015.
“If you are in a position of Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation and you are confronted with the issue of advising Mr. President on the matter what will you tell him.
“As far as I’m concerned, it is an illegality and a criminal subversion of the Constitution because he (President Jonathan) has taken oath of office two times.
“What advice will you give Mr. President. Will you tell Mr. President I’m sorry I’m advising you not to do so (not to contest) or will you join the bandwagon of many Nigerians that will just sit down?”
A cross section of Senators were not comfortable with the question but Mark stepped in to save the situation.
In his ruling on the issue, Mark said while the first question was in order, the second was not. He overruled the question on 2015 presidential election, saying the last question was not within the purview of the nominee.
Mark explained that the issue of contesting election should be a personal decision of an individual and not something to be dictated by anyone.
“It is the personal decision of an individual. If you decide now to contest election on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that will be your personal decision. So you don’t need your Attorney General or any other person to advise you,” Mark said.
Mark asked Abdul-Kadir not to answer the question but to take a bow and leave. In a unanimous voice vote, the Senate subsequently confirmed Abdul-Kadir’s nomination as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.