National Assembly Has No Power To Screen Ministerial Nominees – Kay Soyemi

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Editor’s note: social commentator/political analyst, Kay Soyemi (Esq) examines what the Nigerian constitution says about the power of the National Assembly to screen ministerial nominees.

This is coming on the heels of controversies among Nigerians when the long-awaited ministerial list was announced.

National AssemblyExcerpts:

I am nonplussed as to how and why the National Assembly has arrogated to itself, the power to screen any ministerial nominee from the executive because there is no such provision in our constitution.

Wherein the law gave express directives on the power of the president to appoint his ministers, subject to section 14 (3), it does not suggest that this is subject to the approval of the National Assembly, but its confirmation.

This is what the law says on the matters of ministers and the power of the legislature.

“Section 147 (2) any appointment to the office of the minister of the government of the federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the president.”

Please note the absence of the word ‘screening’ or ‘screen’ and the import of the word ‘confirmed’.

See the powers of the National Assembly below:

88. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, each House of the National Assembly shall have power by resolution published in its journal or in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation to direct or cause to be directed investigation into –

(a) Any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws, and
(b) the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department charged, or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for – (i) executing or administering laws enacted by National Assembly, and
(ii) Disbursing or administering moneys appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly.
(2) The powers conferred on the National Assembly under the provisions of this section are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling it to –
(a) Make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and correct any defects in existing laws; and
(b) Expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.

I hasten to draw your attention to the two subsections as these are the only direct and applicable interfaces in this matter, that is, the powers of the NASS in relation to the confirmation of any minister nominated by the executive shall be in relation to:

88 (1) b) the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department charged, or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for –
Wherein, it is expressly stated that the purpose is to:

Section 88 (2) b) expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.

And crucially, section 88(1) does not expressly give the NASS any direct power to resolve any such anomaly as may be identified in section 88(2) b), it specifically states that;

“Section 88 (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, each House of the National Assembly shall have power by resolution published in its journal or in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation to direct or cause to be directed investigation.”

i.e. the NASS only has the “power by resolution published in its journal or in the official gazette of the government of the federation to direct or case to be directed investigation” into the nomination of the ministerial nominee if any of the grounds as above are applicable.

Please let the NASS and any persons so involved be advised that our constitution is supreme and shall not be violated or applied in abeyance.

The NASS has no power to screen and can only sabre-rattle or delay the appointment of any ministerial nominee by asking the appropriate bodies to investigate them.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

Datboyjerry

Datboyjerry

I am but your herald boy in the art of the pen.. An eccentric Environmental Biologist smouldered in the glorious epiphany of online journalism. If you ever find my article unduly insipid, sue me and i’ll refund you...

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