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Senators Kick Lopsided Appointments



There was rowdy session in Senate yesterday when Senators openly protested, accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of lopsided appointments without any adherence to federal character.
The trouble started when a letter from the President seeking confirmation of the appointments of a new chairman, managing director and six other members of the board of Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) was read on the floor of the Senate.
Also, there was another disruption when the Senate leader, Ahmad Lawan read executive communication from President Buhari for the screening of the Chairman and Commissioners of the Federal Civil Service Commission, with Dr. Bello Tukur Ingawa from Katsina State as chairman.
Buhari yesterday wrote to the Senate requesting the Senators to approve the appointments of a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigerian, Mr. Tunde Lemo, as Chairman of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency.
The President also in the letter he personally signed, dated January 15, 2018, forwarded the nomination of Engr. Nurudeen Abdulraman Rafindadi as managing director, and six executive directors, Buba Silas Abdullahi, Babagana Mohammed Aji, Engr. Shehu Usman Abdullahi, Loretta Ngozichukwu Aniagolu, Mujaidu Stanley Dako and Vincent Oladapo Kolawale respectively.
Buhari explained in the letter that “I forward herewith the nominations of a chairman, a managing director and six representatives drawn from each of the six geo-political zones as members of the federal roads maintenance agency (FERMA) for confirmation by the Senate.”

Senate President Bukola Saraki read the letter. Immediately, the lawmakers became peeved and engaged in verbal war to express their support or disapproval of the nominations.
The rowdiness took several minutes before the presiding officer, Saraki, calmed the situation.
First to fire a shot was Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who raised a point of order and cited Section 14(3) of 1999 Constitution.
He argued that most appointments of chairmen of boards by the Buhari administration were without consideration to the principle of federal character which stipulates that no geo-political zone should be marginalised or neglected.
Ekweremadu further insisted that in the current administration, appointments were not evenly distributed and coming from only a particular zone. He noted that the situation is totally unacceptable as it is bias.
But swiftly, Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan in his defence posited that the Buhari administration, does not entertain any partiality in appointments. He said there is fairness in all appointments. This seriously infuriated the lawmakers and the entire session was thrown into chaos, as Senators were openly seen shouting and pointing at each other, in protest. There was near fisticuffs in the Chambers.
On the confirmation of federal civil service commission board, Senators Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North) and Mao Ohuabunwa (Abia North) who relied on Order 15 of the Senate rules urged the Senate to put the appointments on hold.
But Senate President, Bukola Saraki in his intervention said the allegation of lopsided appointments was speculative.
Saraki, however, mandated the Senator Tijani Kaura led Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs to immediately investigate the matters and report back to Senate in plenary, next week Tuesday, July 24.