ONE OF the major issues
that generated tension in the
political space of the country
after the senate resumed
from its mid-term break
on Tuesday, July 4, was the
threat to impeach the Acting
President, Professor Yemi
Osinbajo over alleged comments
credited to him that
executive appointments did
not require legislative approval.
It all started in March this
year when the Senate refused
to confirm Mr. Ibrahim Magu
as substantive of chairman of
the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission, EFCC
chairman, following petitions
against him by the Director
General of the Department
of State Services, DSS,
Mr. Lawal Daura.
Osinbajo was later quoted
to have said that the Senate
lacks the power to reject anyone
nominated for appointment
by the Presidency, and
vowed that Magu would not
be removed from office as
demanded by the upper legislative
chamber. The acting
President reportedly based
his argument on Section 171
of the 1999 Constitution.
However, the senators after
about two hours closed-door
session protested against
a letter from Osinbajo asking
the Senate to confirm the nomination of Mr. Lanre
Gbajabiamila as the chairman
of the National Lottery Regulatory
Commission, NLRC
which was read by the Senate
President, Dr. Bukola Saraki,
at the plenary. The lawmakers
wondered why the Acting
President, who had said that
the legislature lacks power to
approve certain appointments
by the executive, was seeking
their confirmation of another
nominee.
The senators were particularly
peeved by the continuous
retention of Magu in office as
the Acting Chairman of EFCC
by the Presidency against his
rejection by the senate while at
the same time, expecting them
to confirm other nominees forwarded
for approval.
To show their seriousness to
the issue, the lawmakers said
that an embargo should be
placed on confirmation of executive
appointments pending
the time the powers of the legislature
had been recognised.
They particularly asked that
invitation from the EFCC to
any member must henceforth
be ignored while threatening
that they might move against
the leadership of the Senate if
it failed to take a drastic action
against the executive within 48
hours.
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola
Saraki, who read the Act ing President’s letter on Gbajabiamila
during plenary, had to
rule in favour of his colleagues
by saying that “this is an issue
that we have to once and for all
address”, adding that “we cannot
pass laws and see that the
laws are not being obeyed”.
“This resolution must be
obeyed by the Acting President
otherwise we will take appropriate
actions and resolutions”,
he warned.
According to a source, the
Presidency had intelligence report
on some warring senators
plotting the impeachment of
the Acting President. “Part of
the intelligence report showed
that some senators had plotted
the impeachment script before
the Tuesday session. Those
who tabled the motion were
actually not aware that the Acting
President had returned to
the country”, the source said.
Senator Ahmad Sani (APC
Zamfara West) had come under
Point of Order 42 of the Senate
Standing Rule that the upper
legislative chamber should
stop the confirmation of Gbajabiamila
as the Lottery Commission
boss based on the Acting
President’s alleged comment.
The lawmaker wondered why Osinbajo was requesting
for the nominees’ confirmation
after he had reportedly
said that the Senate
lacks power of confirmation
on certain nominees from the
Presidency.
Also, Senator George Sekibo
(PDP Rivers East), said
the Executive was only trying
to take over the powers
of the Senate, wondering
whether the Acting President
was in touch with the EFCC
Act, which states that “the
President shall nominate and
Senate will confirm”.
He explained that rejecting
the senate’s resolution is similar
to that of the constitution,
adding that “there is nothing
like Executive Orders in a
democratic constitution”.
“The Constitution did not
give room for acting appointment
after a nominee has
been rejected by the Senate.
If the Acting President says
we do not have the power
to confirm and then turns
around to send us a nomination,
which one do we now
take?”, Sekibo asked.
Also, Senators Sam Anyanwu
(PDP Imo East) and Isa
Misau (APC Bauchi Central)
wondered why the Senate
is still accepting letters of
confirmation and called for
suspension of action on all
nomination requests from
the Presidency.
According to Senator Anyanwu,
if the Presidency fails.

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