Ahead of the ministerial nominees screening scheduled to take place at the Senate plenary session on Tuesday, October 13, the president of the upper legislature, Senator Bukola Saraki, has said that the lawmakers would not be embarking on a business as usual kind of scrutiny.
According to The Punch, the Senate president made this known at a condolence visit to the family home of Chief Obafemi Awolowo over the death of HID Awolowo.
As questions came up on the issue of the forthcoming ministerial screening, the Senate president averred that the hallowed chamber will not deviate from the provisions of the constitution.
The senator said “We have said that for the 8th Senate that it is not going to be business as usual. What I can assure you is that we will go with the constitution, the rules. We will put Nigeria first, screening will be done with level of seriousness and what we are all about is our constitutional responsibility to ensure that we find people who are fit enough to be ministers and particularly this time, to give President Muhammadu Buhari the support he requires.
“It is not about whom you like or who you don’t like. I want to assure Nigerians that this will not be the basis; it will be based on the constitution and based on the ability and our own assessment of capacity of the nominees to perform.”
Senator Saraki made the assurance that individual differences would not be an issue during the ministerial screening.
He disclosed that the Senate leadership has spoken with senators and told them that such personal altercations should not impede their objectivity.
On the issue of transparency, the Senate president said: “At this moment, we have made sure that as much as possible, we share with the public, and we will try to ensure that all will be covered live so that everybody can see. We will not be screening from our bedrooms and sitting rooms. You’re rest assured that we will do a good job which Nigerians would be proud of.”
Speaking further at the visit Saraki lauded the late HID Awolowo noting that she was the only woman that had sustained the dream of her husband in the country.
Saraki who led a six man delegation to the Ikenne home described Awolowo’s death as a great loss stating that is was the respect which he has for the family that prompted his visit.
The senator said that usually, the Senate was supposed to send a delegation of lawmakers but because of the person of HID, he decided that he went with the delegation.
He added: “The country, not just the family that has lost a great person. She was a great person because since the death of Papa Awo for so many years she continued the life of virtues and his dreams and she sustained over many years. She showed that she was a uniting factor not only in South West, but also Nigeria in general.
“I can say that because just few months ago, we were here during the period of our campaign and I don’t think there had been a campaign in this country that no politician will not stop here to pay respect and honour. She earned that because we have many wives and mothers who after their husbands passed away, have not been able to sustain the dreams of their husbands. I think she has shown herself that in the entire country she is the only person that has been able to achieve that. That is a great achievement.
“As we mourn we also celebrate the great life she had lived. I remember when we were here we thought we would come to celebrate her 100 years, but that shows that we must believe the power of the almighty God. It is not we that decide some of these things when they happen, but she lived a great life. She is someone we should be proud of not only here, but also in Nigeria as a whole.”
Other members of the Senate among the delegation led by Saraki were Senators Sheu Sanni (Kaduna) Monsurat Sunmonu (Oyo), Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti), Gbolahan Dada (Ogun) and Lanre Tejuoso (Ogun).
Meanwhile, it has also been reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will on Monday, October 12, begin to investigate petitions written against President Muhammadu Buhari’s 21 ministerial nominees.