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Politicians express divergent views on ministerial screening

Senate President Bukola Saraki
Lagos – Some politicians in the Lagos area on Thursday expressed mixed reactions to the ongoing screening of ministerial nominees by the Senate.
While some praised the exercise as impressive, a few others noted that there was room for improvements.
Some others noted that if portfolios had been attached to the names of the nominees; it could have provided better impetus for the type of questions being posed to the nominees by the senators.
According to them, it will provide better insights into how they will perform on the job as ministers.
However, it was a general consensus among some Nigerians that so far, the exercise had been well-received.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Senate has since screened an appreciable number of the nominees since the first batch numbering 21 were sent in by President Muhammadu Buhari on Sept. 30.

The Senate had since Oct. 12, received additional 16 new nominees to bring the total to 37. The list was transmitted to Senate through the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.
Prof. Oluremi Sonaiya, the 2015 Presidential candidate of KOWA Party, said the exercise had been fairly good. “I feel that a fairly good job was being done, even though there is room for improvements.
“The disparity in the time spent by the nominees is understandable; the well known nominee like Lai Mohammed was not subjected to intense questioning.
“If the portfolios for each of the nominees was attached, it could have helped in posing the right questions,’’ Sonaiya said.
She, however, urged both nominees and senators to be mindful of the seriousness attached to the exercise in the quest for better governance of the country.
The Lagos State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olatunji Shelle, also said the exercise could be better handled.
“The screening exercise was okay; I was not impressed at the seriousness attached to the screening of one of the nominees, Lai Mohammed, who was virtually asked to take a bow. It almost took the shine off the exercise’’.
However, the Lagos State Chairman of Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Dr Akin Badmus, said that the screening was impressive.
“I am satisfied, indeed impressed by the exercise, considering that the opposition is well represented in the senate in terms of numbers.
“The questions have been relevant and Germaine to the tasks at hand,’’ Badmus said.
The National Chairman of Progressive Action Council (PAC), Chief Charles Nwodo, said it was praise-worthy that the exercise had so far been devoid of rancour.
“The exercise has so far been devoid of the usual rancour; there have not been ridiculous questions in spite of the party differences. Attention has been focused on issues besetting the country,’’ he said.
Nwodo rejected moves by some sections to screen the nominees by one of the Senate committees, stressing that it could lead to confusion and bias.
He urged the senate to add more seriousness to their oversight function in order to check who he termed executive recklessness.

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