The Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate (CPPM) joins millions of Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora in congratulating President Muhammadu Buhari for releasing his list of ministerial nominees of eminently qualified persons of proven integrity and character as promised.
We are very happy to note that this list of nominees which was released well over four months since the inauguration into office of Mr. President was delayed not because he was looking for angels and saints, but rather as a result of the need to clear the Augean stable of the mess and rot of misgovernance left behind by his immediate predecessor.
We are also very happy that this list of ministerial nominees meets the expectations of most Nigerians for change as they are comprised of respectable, tested and trusted men and women of proven track record of performance and pedigree in their chosen fields and public office, whose footprints is already imprinted in the sands of time.
As the Senate commences the screening of the ministerial nominees submitted by Mr. President, the Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate (CPPM), admonishes members of the upper legislative chamber to be patriotic, responsible, responsive, thorough, focused and observant of due process and the rule of law in the discharge of this constitutional responsibility.
We are very much aware that the legislature is an arm of government constitutionally empowered with the responsibility of making laws for the good of the society. Therefore, it is important to warn the Senate not to usurp the constitutional functions of the security agencies and the courts of law based on petitions and allegations submitted to it against some of the ministerial nominees.
We are also aware that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, presumes a person innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, so the Senate as a law making body must not illegally and unconstitutionally become a court of law by passing judgements on nominees against whom allegations and petitions have been raised.
We are quite aware that the office of a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not have immunity to prevent him or her from facing prosecution for an alledgedly committed crime before or after assuming office, therefore, the Senate is enjoined to perform its responsibility of screening with an eye on the rule of law.
We must remind members of the Senate that the constitution stipulates the minimum requirements of a would be Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and it is expected that the provisions of the constitution as the Grundnorm, would be strictly adhered to, because any rules or conditions put in place for the screening which runs contrary to the tenets of the constitution, would be null and void.
We also need to remind the Senate and those spurring it to commit illegality and unconstitutionality with regards to the screening of the ministerial nominees, that if their arguments were to be valid and hold water, then a large number of the members of the upper legislative chamber should not have occupied their seats because of pending litigations against their elections at the elections petition tribunals. These litigation is petitions and allegations against their victory at the polls as pronounced by the electoral umpire (INEC) which can only be upturned by another arm of government, which is the judiciary.
As the Senate commences the screening, the Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate (CPPM) wishes them the best as they perform their constitutional responsibility with strict observance of due process and the rule of law which will go a long way in ensuring justice and deepening our democracy.