Fred Itua, Abuja, with agency report
Barely 24 hours after Senate urged President Muhammadu Buhari to forward the ministerial list, its president, Ahmad Lawan, has confirmed that an action to that effect will be taken this week.
Lawan stated this innreaction to a motion by senator Albert Bassey Akpan.
Akpan had anchored his motion on Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules. He impressed on his colleagues the need to mount pressure on the president to submit the list before the National Assembly embarks on its summer recess.
He said: “Mr. president, in view of the yearly long recess the Senate and the House of Representatives will embark upon in two weeks time, there is need to urge president Muhammadu Buhari to forward the much expected ministerial list to the Senate; for screening and confirmation.
“This is very important because if such a list is not made available for the required legislative attention, before we embark on the long recess, there will be no ministers and, by extension, a federal cabinet for the president to work with, till September.
“Making the list more urgent now from the president before our long recess is the fact that if is not made available, concerted efforts being made by both arms of government to return the yearly budget cycle to January to December would be defeated.
“On this note, I call on the president of the senate to inform president Muhammadu Buhari of the need for the list before we embark on recess.”
In his response, Lawan informed the chamber that the list could reach tme before the week runs out.
Said Lawan: “Let me, on the strength of this motion, inform the senate that the Executive arm of government is working very hard on the ministerial list.
“In fact, the list, based on information at my disposal, could be forwarded to us by the president before the end of this week.
“May I, therefore, appeal to us all, to be ready to make the necessary sacrifice in terms of sufficient time, to be spent in carrying out thorough screening and confirmation of appointments of the expected ministerial nominees.”
On Tuesday, senate spokesman, Adedayo Adeyeye, told newsmen that the Red Chamber was handicapped in deciding when Buhari would forward his ministerial list to them.
He had also revealed that they were also not constitutionally empowered to request for the list from the president.
“That is the prerogative of the executive. We are not going to help them to do their job. Senate cannot generate the list of ministers on its own.
“It is the prerogative of the president to send his ministerial nominee list to the Senate and when he does that we will consider it.
“That is our constitutional mandate. It is not even within our powers to even advice.
“We will wait until the matter is transmitted to us.
“The executive are aware of the timetable of the Senate.
“There is a particular time the Senate will go on recess.
“That being in mind they should be mindful of when they will carry out this constitutional responsibility,” Adeyeye said then.
Meanwhile, the president, in a statement by a Deputy Director in the office of his Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters, Charles Akpan, has submitted a request to appoint 15 special advisers.
The president hinged his request on section 151 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.