Tumultuous Senate Session Over “Buhari’s Non-compliance With Federal Character” In Appointments

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Plenary at the Nigerian Senate on Thursday was tumultuous after Senate President, Bukola Saraki, read a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari seeking legislative approval of appointments into the board of the Federal Emergency Road Maintenance Agency.

After Saraki read the letter, deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, immediately raised a point or order, protesting the non-compliance by President Buhari with federal character in his appointment of heads of Federal Government departments, agencies and parastatals.

Mr. Ekweremadu observed that the recent appointments by Buhari, and for which he had sought legislative approval showed that the nominees were from particular parts of the country.

Thereupon, the Majority Leader, Ahmad Lawan, countered, saying the appointments are balanced ‎”if you look at the larger picture.”

Saraki however said that the Senate would not act on sentiments and opinion.

He therefore ruled that the Senate Committee on Federal Character should investigate Buhari’s appointments and present a report to the red chamber on Tuesday.

But the chamber thundered in roars of lawmakers ‘yes’ and ‘no.’

Three lawmakers from the South-East, apart from Ekweremadu also raised points of order, asking the chamber to suspend further consideration and screening of nominees pending the presentation and adoption of the report by the Committee on Federal Character.

The South East senators are Chukwuka Utazi, Mao Ohuabunwa and Obinna Ogba‎.

According to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the federal character principle stipulates: “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies”.

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