Presidency Reveals When Portfolios Will Be Assigned
The presidency has disclosed that the National Assembly is yet to officially communicate President Muhammadu Buhari on the completion of screening for ministerial nominees.
Recall the Senate on Tuesday, completed the screening and confirmed for appointment as substantive ministers of the federal republic of Nigeria, 43 nominees initially sent to it by President Buhari.
Following the successful completion of the exercise, many had the expectation that the President would inaugurate the ministers designate on Wednesday.
But speaking to newsmen in Abuja, Buhari’s Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, said, “The President upon receipt of the communication from the National Assembly will, on a date he will fix, notify the screened and cleared nominees and inaugurate them as appropriate.”
Responding to the wide expectation that the President should have assigned portfolios to the ministerial nominees before sending the list to the National Assembly, Enang said Buhari did nothing wrong as the country’s constitution did not ask him to do so.
He said, “You are saying that the President should have attached portfolios. I am sure from 1999 to 2019, this question has been asked. This means that the question has been asked for the past 20 years.
“The constitution says that the President shall appoint persons as ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria subject to confirmation by the Senate. The constitution does not oblige the President or a governor to attach a ministry or a portfolio in his nomination to the legislature.”
“Portfolios may change and the structure of government may not be the same as it were. When a minister is screened and cleared, he is assigned a portfolio.
“It may arise during the course of his assignment, the President or the governor may decide to reassign him to another ministry. If you assign (a portfolio) and the person is screened in respect of that portfolio, that means the President may have to send the name back to the Senate for screening or for confirmation.
“That is why the constitution does not make it mandatory to assign portfolios while sending it (list) to the legislature. Therefore the President has not done anything wrong.”