A good governance advocacy organization, Human and Environmental Developmental Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), has given the National Assembly a seven-day ultimatum to start the process that will lead to the confirmation of nominees submitted by the Executive to it or face litigation.
HEDA gave the ultimatum in a petition to the Senate President, Mr. Bukola Saraki. Signed by Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, Chairman of HEDA, the petition said the delay in commencing the confirmation process has incapacitated many government agencies.
The organization explained that the non-confirmation of the nominees has impeded governance as well as the fight against corruption in the country, as it leaves in limbo political appointees nominated to administer strategic institutions responsible for governance, economy, development and anti-graft agenda.
HEDA noted that the media are imputing a political motive related to the differences between the Senate and Presidency as being responsible for the Senate's deliberate refusal to confirming the nominees.
“The Senate under your leadership has delayed some of the nominations for a period of over six months. This has not only affected the confirmation but has also continued to affect the smooth running of the affected Federal Government agencies, which are still having problems clearing their nominees in the Senate," observed HEDA.
A report in the February 5 edition of Daily Times, said the organization, stated that the nominees have their fate hanging in the balance because the Senate is sore over President Muhammadu Buhari’s retention of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
"The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) remains incapacitated by the absence of an acting or substantive chairman. That institution with enormous responsibility in the fight against corruption is on the long list of government agencies adversely impacted by the inexplicable constitutional dereliction on the path of your Senate,” said HEDA.
It told Mr. Saraki that the refusal to screen and confirm the ICPC Chairman- designate amounts to an utter disregard for a responsibility stipulated by Section 3(6) of the ICPC Act. The section, said HEDA, states that: "The Chairman and members of the Commission, who shall be persons of proven integrity, shall be appointed by the President, upon confirmation by the Senate, and shall not begin to discharge the duties of their offices until they have declared their assets and liabilities as prescribed in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The organization warned that if the National Assembly fails to meet the seven-day ultimatum, it will be compelled to institute a legal action against the Senate.
"We, therefore, by this letter, call on the 8th Senate under your leadership to activate the process of confirming the 60 nominees within seven days of the receipt of this petition, failure of which we shall institute an action in court to compel you to discharge your statutory duties," the petition said.