CONSTITUTIONALITY OR OTHERWISE OF APPOINTMENT OF MINISTERS IN NIGERIA
There has been some controversy in our dear Country Nigeria since the coming into power of President Muhammadu Buhari, one of such controversy includes the delay in nominating ministers.
However for whatever procedure that is being followed, there is a laid down constitutional provision for it, which directs the affairs of the executive,legislative and judiciary arm of government. Before laying down our criticisms if any, it is only proper that we look at the constitutional provisions in relation to the path taken by the President and see if the provisions was adhered to or otherwise.
The constitutional provision as contained in chapter 6, section 147 to 149 states as follows
(1) There shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President.
(2) Any appointment to the office of 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.
(3) Any appointment under subsection (2) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of section 14(3) of this Constitution:-
provided that in giving effect to the provisions aforesaid the President shall appoint at least one Minister from each State, who shall be an indigene of such State.
(4) Where a member of the National Assembly or of a House of Assembly is appointed as Minister of the Government of the Federation, he shall be deemed to have resigned his membership of the National Assembly or of the House of Assembly on his taking the oath of office as Minister.
(5) No person shall be appointed as a Minister of the Government of the Federation unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives.
(6) An appointment to any of the offices aforesaid shall be deemed to have been made where no return has been received from the Senate within twenty-one working days of the receipt of nomination by the Senate.
(1) The President may, in his discretion, assign to the Vice-President or any Minister of the Government of the Federation responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of government.
(2) The President shall hold regular meetings with the Vice-President and all the Ministers of the Government of the Federation for the purposes of -
(a) determining the general direction of domestic and foreign policies of the Government of the Federation;
(b) co-ordinating the activities of the President, the Vice-President and the Ministers of the Government of the Federation in the discharge of their executive responsibilities; and
(c) advising the President generally in discharge of his executive functions other than those functions with respect to which he is required by this Constitution to seek the advice or act on the recommendation of any other person or body.
149. A Minister of the Government of the Federation shall not enter upon the duties of his office, unless he has declared his assets and liabilities as prescribed in this Constitution and has subsequently taken and subscribed the Oath of Allegiance and the oath of office for the due execution of the duties of his office prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to this Constitution.
The above constitutional provision is self explanatory, in line with the present nomination of ministers in Nigeria, can we boldly say that the constitutional provisions have been obeyed.
The senate sets procedure for ministerial screening of its nominess, however to every rule there is an exception, in terms of screening of ministerial nominees, some nominees enjoy the privilege of "TAKE A BOW AND GO"reason being that “it is a privilege reserved for former federal lawmakers ..... Senator Muhammed Ali Ndume the majority leader had this to say in relation to the privilege enjoyed by some former senators in this just concluded screening.
" what we did now was that even if you were a member of the National Assembly, and you are nominated and because of the respect we have for our colleagues, you can bow and go, we felt you need to interact with us and that was exactly what we did on the floor.” to read further MINISTERIAL SCREENING
In accordance with section 149 of the 1999 Constitution as ammended, it is an exercise to demand for certificate of assets declaration issued by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) from the nominees.
Section 147(5) makes an important demand that only a person who is qualified to be a member of the House of Representatives can be adjudged fit to be screened as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Most of us where opportuned to watch the screening process, i can easily conclude if i was satisfied with the screening or not but that is a personal decision for each and everyone of us to make,once you can relate the nomination and screening process with the constitutional provisions.
the most recent in the news is the fact that some of the minsters wont have a portfolio, again this is raising serious controversy.
MINISTERS WITHOUT PORTFOLIO
According to Wikipedia. A minister without portfolio is either a government minister with no specific responsibilities or a minister who does not head a particular ministry.
kindly comment in relation to the state of affairs in the Country as it will be highly appreciated.