Senate President Ahmad Lawan will draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to the erroneous inclusion of a dead person on the list of nominees sent to the Senate, The Guardian has learnt.
It emerged on Wednesday that the list for the appointment of members into the Federal Character Commission (FCC) included the late Tobias Chukwuemeka Okwuru, a former member of the House of Representatives from Ebonyi State.
Okwuru, the 12th on the 38-person list died in February 2020, aged 59. Until his demise, he had acted as chairman of the House Committee on Environment and had represented Ikwo/Ezza Federal Constituency between 2011 and 2015.
This is, however, not the first time names of the dead have featured in appointments by Buhari since he became president in May 2015.
In 2017, the names of five persons said to be dead appeared on a list of appointments onto the boards of federal agencies and corporations. They were: Senator Francis Okpozo (Delta), Rev. Father Christopher Utau (Benue), DIG Donald Ugbaja (retd), Garba Attahiru (Kaduna) and Umar Dange (Sokoto).
A replacement for Okwuru is expected when the Senate resumes plenary from its indefinite adjournment.
It was also learnt yesterday that the fresh nominations submitted to the Senate might be approved without the usual parliamentary hearings where committees subject nominees to thorough screening.
Some lawmakers, however, insisted the Senate would do all it could to ensure that relevant constitutional requirements for such appointments were met.
The new spokesman for the Senate, Ajibola Basiru, did not pick his calls and failed to respond to messages.Other lawmakers who did not want to be mentioned simply referred to earlier resolutions of the Senate that suspended public hearing to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The same reason, it was learnt, was responsible for the failure of the Senate to subject the president’s N850 billion loan request to thorough scrutiny at committee levels.
When attention was drawn to an alleged breach of the Federal Character Principle, as contained in Section 14 of the Constitution, a lawmaker from the North-Eastern part of the country said the Senate would subject every observation and complaint to serious consideration, even if the screening was not referred to committees.
“I think we should not preempt the decision of the Senate on these nominations. It would not be possible for the Senate to ignore the constitution and its standing rule in carrying out its functions. And you know, all these documents stress fairness and justice as canvassed in the Federal Character Principle you just referred to,” he said.
The alleged breach includes the observation that the two topmost positions in the FCC (chairman and secretary) were given to the northern part of the country in the nominations sent to the Senate yesterday.
The Senate had on Tuesday received three requests from Buhari for the confirmation of nominees for the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC); Federal Character Commission; and the Federal Civil Service Commission.
The requests were contained in three separate letters read at the beginning of plenary by Lawan.
According to Buhari, the request for the confirmation was in accordance with the provisions of Section 154(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
The nominees for membership of the RMAFC are Salamatu Mohammed Bala (Adamawa); Alfred Egba (Bayelsa); Adamu ShettimaYuguda Dibal (Borno); Emmanuel Nwosu (Imo); Oladele Seminu Gboyega (Osun); Bello Abubakar Wamakko, (Sokoto); and Ahmed Yusuf (Taraba).
Those nominated to serve as commissioners with the Federal Civil Service Commission are Frederick Ekwem (Imo and Abia); and Jonah Madugu (Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau).
Nominees appointed by the president to serve at the Federal Character Commission include Farida Muheeba Dankaka, (chairman); Henry Ogbulogo (Abia); Salihu Bello (Adamawa); Obonganwan Dborah Daniel Ebony (Akwa-Ibom); Ibeabuchi Uche (Anambra); Mohammed Tijjani (Bauchi); Tonye Okio (Bayelsa); Silas Mfa Macikpah (Benue); Abba Ali Monguno (Borno); Nsor Atamgba (Cross River); and Alims Agoda.
Others are Tobias Chukuemeka (Ebonyi); Imuetinyan Festus (Edo); Sesan Fatoba; Ginika Florence Tor (Enugu); Hamza Mohammed (Gombe); Diogu Uche (Imo); Lawan Ya’uRoni (Jigawa); Hadiza Usman Muazu (Kaduna); Mohammed Awwal Na’iya (Kano); Lawal Garba (Katsina); Abubakar Atiku Bunu (Kebbi); Idris Eneye Bello (Kogi); Daniel James Kolo (Kwara); Are Miftah Bolaji (Lagos); Nasir Isa Kwarra (Nasarawa); and Suleiman Barau (Niger).
Also appointed are: AbiodunIsiaq Akinlade (Ogun); Olufemi Omosanya (Ondo); Adeoye Abdularazaq Olalekan (Osun); Adeniyi Olowofela (Oyo); Stephen Jings (Plateau); Wokocha Augustine (Rivers); Abdullahi TaminuTafida (Sokoto); Alhaji Armaya’u Dauda Abubakar (Taraba); Jibril Maigari (Yobe); Sani Garba (Zamfara); and Adamu Mohammed Sidi-Ali (Federal Capital Territory).