Mohammed Monguno, the chief whip of the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, at plenary, stopped a move by the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint ministers.
Toby Okechukwu, the deputy Minority Leader of the House, had in a motion anchored on Section 147 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), drew the attention of the House to the fact that since inauguration on May 29, 2019, the president was yet to form his cabinet.
Okechukwu said the delay in appointing ministers was delaying the smooth take-off of governance as there was uncertainty on whom to conduct official businesses with at the ministries, adding that contracts were also being awarded without due process.
Midway into his motion, a shout of point of order came from Monguno.
Relying on the same Section 147 of the constitution, Monguno, who read the provision, said there was no mention of any timeline within which the president should appoint his ministers, and, therefore, submitted that the motion was dead on arrival. “In clear terms, there is no time limit within which Mr. President must appoint minister. I think the motion is an academic exercise,” he added. Given another opportunity to speak, Okechukwu stated that the motion was to support the President to ensure that government was up and running.
Ruling on the matter, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said Monguno was right, adding: “I think Monguno was in order; there is actually no obligation. The constitution says the President ‘may’.”