President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan yesterday bowed to the demand of the House of Representatives that he formally communicates to it the list of the 20 special advisers he had earlier sent to the Senate for approval.
In a letter dated July 1, 2011, read by the speaker of the House, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, Jonathan formally requested the approval of the lower chamber to appoint his 20 special aides and urged the members to give the request positive consideration.
“While trusting that this exercise will receive the traditional prompt attention of the House, please accept, Mr. Speaker, the assurances of my highest consideration,” Jonathan’s letter read.
It may be recalled that on July 1, the lawmakers had openly expressed their displeasure at what it alleged was an undermining move by Jonathan to bypass them in communicating the list of aides to only the Senate for approval.
Former House minority leader, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, had raised a constitutional point of order in which he expressed displeasure that the president didn’t deem it right to obey the provisions of the constitution and present the list to both chambers for approval, as stated in the 1999 constitution.
The deputy speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, who presided over the session, suggested that it must have been an oversight on the part of the executive and directed the clerk to straighten issues.
Section 151 reads: “The president may appoint any person as a special adviser to assist him in the performance of his functions. The number of such advisers and their remuneration and allowances shall be prescribed by law or by resolution of the National Assembly”.
Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, ACN, representing Ikorodu federal constituency, however, flayed the lawmakers on the chorused appreciation that followed Jonathan’s gesture.
She said, “While I am not against the approval, we should not come here and start praise-singing the president for doing what he has to do. The executive should know what they have to do.”
Meanwhile, a delegation of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) on Tuesday paid a courtesy call on the speaker.
The delegation, amongst other things, sought a review of the act establishing the body which dates back to 1965.
While congratulating Tambuwal on his emergence as House speaker, leader of the delegation and ICAN president, Professor Francis Ojaide said the body was ready to collaborate with the House in areas of budget analysis and capacity development for finance staff of the National Assembly.