With Nigerians eagerly waiting for the Senate to begin the screening of the ministerial nominees sent to Senate President, Bukola Saraki by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, September 30, 2015, feelers from the House of Assembly has it that some of the rumoured nominees have started approaching Senators in order to to be given “soft-landing.”
According to Punch, some of the nominees, including former governors have started seeking the support of Saraki and other senators during the screening process.
One Senator from the North Central who preferred to be anonymous said some nominees had reached out to Saraki and several senators, especially as there are rumours that some senators from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) controlled states, especially Ekiti and Rivers to stall the clearance of nominees from their states.
He said: “Don’t forget that several precedents on similar issues had been set by the Seventh Senate when the then Senate President, David Mark, ignored protests by senators from Lagos, and Osun, against the nomination of two ministerial nominees and went ahead to clear them.”
Another senator from the North East zone also confirmed that there were plans by the senate to get back at the executive arm of government.
He said, “Definitely we have to move the nation forward. If the President is saying that these are the people that I have picked, after a painstaking process, who could work with me, why should we deliberately constitute ourselves as stumbling blocks?
“Although some of them may have issues with their stewardship while they held sway as governors, the question is, is anyone among them being investigated by any anti – graft agency?
“Nobody is a saint. I am not one either. The senate president had appealed to us that we should jettison politics of vendetta in the screening of the ministerial nominees and I am prepared to heed his advice.
“Personally I will play my part by asking relevant questions and responses to them would make Nigerians know that we are not clearing the wrong persons at the end of the exercise”
Reacting to the development, the APC Senator representing Oyo South Senatorial District, Adesoji Akanbi neither confirmed nor debunked the report that some nominees had reached out to the senate.
Akanbi enthused thus: “The fact that some of the people whose names had been published in the media have been reaching out, is a possibility in politics.
“Nobody in his right senses will deliberately play politics with a sensitive issue like the screening of ministers. This is not the time for anybody to say he wants the legislature to hit back at the executive or the presidency over the current relationship between the two tiers of government.
“I am not saying that we should not do our jobs as lawmakers, what I am saying is that we should not deliberately frustrate the clearance of ministerial nominees, that does not also mean that those who fall short of expectation in glaring circumstances should not be dropped”
On his part, Senate Spokesman, Senator Dino Melaye, said Nigerians should wait until Wednesday so they can see the reaction of the Senate.
He said: “Questions for the nominees won’t be based on their educational qualifications alone but will also on their morals, character and antecedents because we won’t allow Nigerians to accuse the Senate of approving somebody with questionable character as President Buhari’s minister”