The lawmakers of the senate are apparently unmoved by the reports making the round that the presidency may likely head to the Supreme Court to seek a judicial interpretation of Section 171 of the constitution, ThisDay reports.
The presidency had planned to pay a judicial visit to the apex court in a bid to resolve the impasse on the powers of the Senate to confirm the nominees of the president and by extension whether the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, can remain in office despite his rejection by the upper legislative chamber.
This is on the back of a prolong loggerhead with the Senate over their insistence that the executive must remove Magu, having been rejected twice during his confirmation process at the upper legislative chamber.
The Senate had rejected Magu based on a report from the Department of State Services (DSS), which had indicted him for alleged corruption and unprofessional conduct.
However, the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, in an interview in April, ruled out the possibility of President Muhammadu Buhari replacing the EFCC Boss – a statement that peeved the lawmakers greatly, thus resulting to the decision by the senate to step down all requests for confirmation into executive positions from the Presidency.
On this basis, the Senate said it would no longer consider nominees sent by the presidency except Magu ceases to act as the chairman of EFCC.
Reacting to this, a number of senators who spoke to THISDAY agreed to take up the gauntlet in what they described as a bold step to lay the matter to rest.
“If they want to go to the Supreme Court, that is fine with us. The presidency is just looking for excuses. At the end of the day, it is a win-win situation, let the Supreme Court rule on the matter so we can lay it to rest.
“It is good for both parties so we can settle the matter of Magu once and for all,” said a senator said.
“We are sure that they would lose. If they do not lose, it will set a bad precedence. The constitution is clear, but since they need verification, they should go for verification.
“We have been saying it for months: go to the Supreme Court and they have been stalling. Now we have said nothing would happen unless they get that verification,” he added.
Another senator challenged the presidency to also consider seeking interpretation on whether the National Assembly can alter figures proposed in the budget submitted by the executive.
“In fact, they should go ahead on the budget bill also, so that the Supreme Court can decide if the National Assembly can tinker with the proposed figures.
“If the lawmakers can alter executive bills, will the Supreme Court say it cannot alter a money bill? A bill is a bill,” the senator said.
“We stand firm and resolute, we will not consider anything, any request for confirmation.
“Is it not contradictory that a presidency that said the EFCC chair does not need confirmation because the agency is not specifically listed in the constitution, would send us a confirmation request for another nominee for the Director General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, whose proposed agency is not listed in same constitution?
“Finally heading to the Supreme Court is actually a welcome development.
“Whatever they do between now and next week when we are going on recess, they have to get the ruling. The Supreme Court can get back within this week on the matter,” he said.