The presidency reacted to reports that Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, was on his own regarding the statement he made in April that the senate does not have to screen all political appointees made by the Executive. The presidency says these reports are false as Malami never said Osinbajo was on his own.
Attorney General of the Federation and Chief Justice of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, added that the position of acting president Yemi Osinbajo on the Senate’s rejection of acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, is a personal one and not that of the Federal government. Tuesday, the senate asked acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, to withdraw a statement he made against them in April concerning the rejection of Magu’s nomination. While speaking with some journalists in Abuja, Osinbajo said based on Section 171 of the Constitution, the executive doesn’t require legislative approval for the confirmation of some political appointments., some appointments do not require the screening and confirmation by the Legislatures. This however did not go down well with the senators as they called on him to withdraw this statement.
Speaking to state House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting Wenesday, AGF Malami said FEC did not deliberate on the brewing crisis between Osinbajo and the Senate because the statement acting president made was on a personal note and was not a decision taken at the Federal Executive Council meeting.
“The fundamental consideration about the alleged statement is the fact that at no point ever did the Federal Executive Council sit down to arrive at the decision in one-way or the other as far as the issue of nomination or otherwise is concerned. So, I do not think it constitutes an issue for the Federal Executive Council to make any clarification about because it has never been considered by the FEC” he said.
Also commenting on the issue, Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said Osinbajo’s comment was done one a personal note.
Speaking to Premium Times, Garba said:
“A senior lawyer in the country offered an opinion, in which he said some categories of public officers traditionally cleared by the National Assembly need not to go through that process, that those ones can be appointed by the Presidential fiat; they don’t have to go through screening. But several months ago, in his position as Vice President, Professor Osinbajo gave a personal opinion saying what this lawyer said makes sense.
There is no official position by the government of Nigeria, and the Federal Executive Council never sat down to take a decision to say that some categories of officials will not be sent to the National Assembly any longer or that the authority of the Senate under the constitution to screen and pass nominees has never been questioned by the government or the Federal Executive Council. From the time the Vice President gave that opinion to now, more than 20 nominations have been forwarded to the Senate and quite a number of them have been screened, sworn-in and are now occupying positions so therefore; this is not a big issue as some people want to make it. The party, government and the National Assembly will sit on a round table and this matter will be discussed and resolved. I assure you” he said.