The Senate will on Monday commence the screening of the 28 ministerial nominees of President Bola Tinubu.
After 59 days in office, Mr Tinubu transmitted the list of the nominees to the upper legislative chamber on Thursday, a day before the expiration of the 60-day constitutional deadline of 28 July,
Like past Nigerian leaders, the president did not attach their portfolios.
The nominees, drawn from 25 states of the federation, comprise four former governors, six former federal lawmakers, two former lawmakers, three serving presidential advisers, and seven women, among others.
Femi Gbajabiamila, Mr Tinubu’s chief of staff, said the president would submit the list of nominees from the remaining 11 states soon.
Ahead of the screening, the federal government had asked the nominees to complete their documentation at the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President at the National Assembly complex between Friday and Monday (today) to enable them to undergo the exercise.
The Senate has promised a thorough exercise. Its spokesperson, Yemi Adaramodu, told journalists Thursday that Nigerians would not be disappointed with how it would conduct the screening.
“This time, screening will be very thorough. It is not going to be a situation where the screening will be anyhow. We are going to know the background of the nominees, and we are not going to disappoint Nigerians. It is not going to be a shallow screening. You must have character; you must have the face, you must have the behaviour to be among the cabin crew to fly Nigeria. This time around, Nigeria is going to be better,” Mr Adaramodu said.
It is speculated that the screening for which the Senate shifted its annual recess may take a minimum of three days.
The 109-member Senate is expected to grill the nominees on the value they will add to governance if confirmed.
As the tradition of the upper chamber is, the three senators from each of the states where nominees hail from may set the tone for the screening by either speaking in support or against each nominee before questions are put to them by senators.
However, some, notably former and serving lawmakers, may just be asked to “take a bow and go.” Although it is a privilege the lawmakers enjoy, some Nigerians and democrats have in the past criticised the method, saying it does not show seriousness on the part of the lawmakers in ensuring thorough scrutiny of nominees.
Yet some of the nominees may not get accelerated clearance like the former lawmakers, especially if there are petitions written against them or if there is a need to extract more information from them on the suspicion that they will be posted to certain ministries.
At the end of the exercise, the Senate will reject or confirm the nominees at the committee of the Whole, after which the senate president will announce the decision of the lawmakers.
PREMIUM TIMES will bring you live updates of the screening from the Senate chamber. Also, follow us on our Facebook, YouTube and Twitter channels.
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