Saraki: Why We Started Process for RECs Confirmation

  • Senate confirms ministerial nominees

Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has said the Senate commenced the processes towards the confirmation of the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs)after its two weeks suspension of the matter elapsed.

He said this in reaction to reports that the screening exercise was suspended indefinitely until President Muhammadu Buhari removes the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, whose nomination as substantive boss was rejected by the Senate.

This is as the Senate confirmed the ministerial nominations of Prof. Stephen Nkani Ocheni from Kogi State, and Mr. Suleiman Zanna Hassan from Gombe State

Saraki, speaking with journalists yesterday at a briefing to commemorate the World Press Freedom day, said it is erroneous to always assume that there is face-off between the executive arm of government and the legislature.

 Friction from time to time is normal between the two arms of government based on the principal of separation of powers in a presidential system of government.

“When we stood down the issue of the RECs, we made it clear at that time that we were expressing dissatisfaction with the positions that the executive was taking, and we did not say that we did not working with the executive,” he said.

Saraki added that the Senate took the decision to satisfy senators who protested the inaction of the president on Magu, whose rejection was conveyed in a memo.

“To satisfy those that raised it, we stepped it down for two weeks and after that, we would come back to it. At least we have satisfied those who had strong views about it, and did not just disregard their opinion. So what happened yesterday is that after a while we took it back,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday confirmed the ministerial nominations of Prof Stephen Nkani Ocheni from Kogi state, and Mr. Suleiman Zanna Hassan from Gombe state, to fill the vacant positions in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet

In a process lasting about 35 minutes, the nominees fielded questions from the Senators on the economy and  federalism.

Senator Aidoko Ali (Kogi East) said Ocheni has the backing of all senators from the Kogi caucus.

President Buhari, in a letter read at plenary on March 29, 2017,had nominated Ocheni to replace Mr. James Ocholi who died in a car accident on March 6, 2016 on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, while Hassan’s nomination is to replace Ms. Amina Mohammed, who resigned from the cabinet in January this year, to take up appointment as the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations.

The lawmakers unanimously voted to confirm their appointment as ministers.