Screening of ministerial nominees will be thorough, says Saraki

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Senate President Bukola Saraki has said the screening of ministerial nominees will be thorough.

The list is expected to be forwarded to the upper legislative chamber today.

Addressing the lawmakers at yesterday’s plenary session, Saraki said: “As we await the list of ministerial nominees this week, I believe the presence of ministers will create the space for greater policy engagement with the executive arm of government.

“This will enable us to begin to respond in a more systematic manner to the various economic and social challenges before us, especially through our various committees that will also be constituted soon.

“On this note, I want to urge you all my colleagues to ensure that what is uppermost in our minds as we begin the constitutional task of screening of ministerial nominees is the overall interest of our country, informed by the enormity and the urgency of the challenges before us.

“Once the list is submitted, let us ensure that we treat it with dispatch and thoroughness. We must not be held down by unnecessary politicking. The enormity of our national challenges at this time does not give room for pettiness or politics of vendetta”.

Saraki urged the senators to demonstrate clearly to Nigerians that they were prepared to put the interest of the country above other considerations.

To behave contrary, he said, would amount to a betrayal of the confidence reposed on them by the electorate and the country as a whole.

He rued the challenges confronting the national economy, occasioned by dwindling oil revenue, a situation which he said, has brought enormous shock to the economy.

He observed that the trend has greatly limited the capacity of government at various levels to meet even basic commitments, adding however, that the nation had gone through periods of recession in the past.

“What we face today is however unprecedented in ramification and potential gravity. We must think hard and work hard with the executive to achieve greater clarity in policy direction and interventions.

“We shall therefore commence immediately, a review of the 2015 budget and begin now to lay down the fundamental principles that would determine the 2016 budget and the philosophy of our economy in times like this”, Saraki stated.

He urged the executive arm to complement the significant military success recorded in the counter insurgency campaign with a robust economic strategy.

Dr. Saraki canvassed a global infrastructure and development fund that could deliver the vital services needed by the army of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Northeast part.

He identified homes, hospitals, schools and jobs as some of the key infrastructure required by the IDPs to live a more meaningful and more secured life in the future.

On his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Saraki restated his earlier position that he was facing trial because he became the President of the Senate; against the wish of his party.

Said he: “I have no iota of doubt that I am on trial today because I am the President of the Nigerian Senate, against the wishes of some powerful individuals outside this chamber.

“But what is clear to me also, is that the laws of Nigeria, and the rules of the National Assembly give consideration only to the wishes and desires of those of you who are here today as members of the Senate, to elect as you wish, one of your peers as President of the Senate.

“This, in your wisdom, is what you have done by electing me to be the first among all of you who are my equals. The laws of Nigeria does not give any consideration to any other forces outside the Senate in the election of its President.

“And to yield the ground on this note, is to be complicit in the subversion of democracy and its core principles of separation of powers as enshrined in our constitution.

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