By Ignatius Okorocha
For the Senate, the confirmation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), will never receive positive attention again.
And in the event of President Muhammadu Buhari insisting on retaining him, the Senate said that it will not change its decision not to honour any request by the President to confirm his nominees for any office that requires the Upper House affirmation.
The Senate has twice received letters from Buhari to confirm Magu and other nominees for the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which the lawmakers have rejected.
Briefing the Senate Press Corps on Thursday, the Upper Chambera��s spokesman, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, said that the Senate has been vindicated by a court judgement that it has the constitutional powers to confirm or reject the Presidenta��s nominees.
According to the judgement documents made available to journalists, one Oluwatosin Ojaomo, in a 20-paragraph affidavit sought a declaratory order of the court to determine whether the Senate has power to confirm Magu as EFCC chairman).
Ojaomo’s move was at the instance of Vice President Yemi Osibanjo’s earlier statement that Magu’s confirmation might not be needed to pass through the Senate.
Osibanjo, a professor of Law drew inspiration from Mr. Femi Falana (SAN)’s position that Magu needed not to go through Senate if the President has decided to appoint him. He cited the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to buttress his assertion.
In his ruling in the case, Justice John T. Tsoho relied on the statutory provisions of EFCC Act in Section 2(3), which states inter alia: “the Chairman and members of the Commission, other ex-officio members shall be appointed by the President and the appointment shall be subject to the confirmation of the Senate.
“Accordingly, the import of Section 2(3) of the EFCC Act is that the appointment of a Chairman made by the President is dependent on confirmation by the Senate,” he ruled.
Consequently, Sabi said that the court has delivered its judgement on the matter and in its ruling the judge declared that the Senate not only has the power to confirm, but to reject when it deems it necessary.
He continued: “As in the case in question and so the court stated properly that we have the power and that in fact by the intendment of the law, we are not meant to be a rubber stamp and I think this is very important and it is consistent with the position of the Senate and the practice of democracy all over the world.
“I think even in our case, we have rejected and made our stand very clear. We want to salute the Nigerian judiciary for always rising up to the occasion to protect our democracy and to deepen our democratic processes,” he said.
Senator Sabi added that, “I want to say that for those who are worried that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Monetary Policy Committee (MPCa��s) nominees have not been confirmed. I think this is a window for the MPC to see the light in the confirmation of its nominees. If the Executive arm of government does the needful by providing another Nigerian of credible character of which we have over 180 million people, the Senate will act in good faith.”
By Ignatius Okorocha