President Muhammadu Buhari’s delay in announcing the names of his would-be ministers is already causing disquiet in the Senate, Daily Independent has gathered.
More than four months after winning the presidential election, the president is yet to constitute his cabinet.
Many who thought the list would be released on May 29 when he was inaugurated were disappointed and the case was the same on June 12 when he addressed the nation on his second term agenda.
He only made few appointments last week when he reappointed Abba Kyari as his Chief of Staff and Boss Mustapha as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
Some senators, who spoke with our correspondent at the weekend, said they were still in the dark as to why the president had not forwarded the names to Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President.
It would be recalled that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, disclosed that the list would be ready after the leadership of the National Assembly was fully in place.
However, despite the composition of the principal officers of the National Assembly, the president is yet to send the ministerial list to the Senate for consideration and approval.
According to a senator from the South-East geopolitical zone, they were surprised that the list was not ready despite assurances from the presidency that everything would be in place before they resumed from their two weeks’ recess.
When asked if the list could still be ready before the end of July, the senator said he was not sure as only the president could decide when to send the list.
He, however, said the Senate would begin its eight-week annual recess and would reconvene in September.
“Honestly, I can’t say why the list is being delayed but we are waiting for Mr. President to forward it to us so we can begin work immediately.
“What we were told before going on recess was that it will be ready even before we resume on July 2. I have spoken to many of my colleagues and all of them are not sure what is holding back the list.
“One thing is certain: we will not postpone our two-month annual recess which will begin at the end of this month. If the president did not send the list this week, we may have to wait till September when we resume. We want to do a thorough job in the screening and confirmation of the ministers,” he said.
Also speaking with our correspondent, another senator, who was formerly in the House of Representatives, also said the delay was unnecessary as it was likely that the president would reappoint some of the ministers who served with him in his first term.
He said: “To me, I think the delay is unnecessary. I have always believed that some ministers who served with President Buhari in his first term will be brought back. And we can see that in the reappointment of the Chief of Staff and the SGF.
“We, on our part, are ready for the screening because we know Nigerians are anxious. But nobody can blame the National Assembly because we cannot act on a list we haven’t seen. Nigerians should appeal to Mr. President to do the needful.”
Speaking on the issue at the weekend, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, the Chairman, Senate Ad hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, said even if the Senate would go on its annual recess, the lawmakers could decide to break the recess in the interest of the nation.
“It is the prerogative of the president to choose the time he will submit the list of ministers and it is the duty of the Senate to screen and approve the nominees so appointed.
“If the president submits the list before we proceed on recess later this month, we will give it necessary consideration. If, on the other hand, he submits it when we are already on recess, it is not unusual to recall senators from break in the overriding national interest.
“We could break the recess to consider the list whenever it is sent. Whatever it is, we are ready.”
Commenting on the delay, the National Conscience Party (NCP) said the failure of President Buhari to constitute his cabinet is a clear indication that he had not learnt from his lesson.
Yunusa Tanko, National Chairman of the party, said the few appointments made last week by the president showed that he was not willing to change for the better.
“Let us be frank about this. Everybody expected that there would be a new change in the way Mr. President will run his administration but, unfortunately, what we are seeing is different. The election was concluded in February, which is over four months now.
“I was expecting that Mr. President must have learnt from his mistakes. Even when he is finishing his first tenure, he already has the list of people that he wants to put in place so that we can know those people who have the capacity to change the dynamics of this country.
“But, unfortunately, Mr. President has not learnt from his mistakes. In fact, from the two appointments he has made, it has shown that he is not willing to change,” he said.