On Tuesday, July 23, President Muhammadu Buhari forwarded the list of ministerial nominees to the Senate for screening and confirmation.
The list had 43 names.
Wednesday, July 24, the Senate commenced the screening of the nominees.
Since this article is not about the quality of the nominees, it would suffice to say that it was a disappointment, looking more like a list that should go to the financial crimes body for investigation and prosecution of those therein mentioned.
Back to the screening exercise; the word screening is defined as the “evaluation or investigation of something as part of a methodical survey, and to access suitability for a particular role or purpose.
Going by the above definition, the Senate is therefore, to on behalf of the Nigerian people, whom they are supposedly representing, find out if the individuals nominated by Mr. President are fit and proper persons to be ministers in the country.
Common sense and logic would suggest that one way of reaching a satisfactory conclusion as to the suitability of the individuals would be by asking them questions, assessing their intellect, and their ability to think on their feet and outside the box.
In as much as they have not been assigned portfolios, it is still possible to know to some extent, the capabilities of an individual by having a conversation with them.
But no, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, felt otherwise. Conversations are not necessary. If Baba has nominated someone because he knows them, then the person must be confirmed.
They should just bow and go. Those facing trial before courts of competent jurisdiction, like former Governor of Bayelsa, and Timipre Sylva, those whose constituents are opposed to, like Gbemi Saraki and Geoffrey Onyeama and those whose past performances in office were questionable, should “bow and go” because they are either former members of the Senators or House of Assembly or friends of the Senate or women.
What an insult to the collective sensibilities of Nigerians.
Why should women be asked to take a bow and go? Is that what women have been clamouring for? Women want compliancy with the 35% affirmative action not that four women be asked to take a bow and go by the Senate; I digress of course.
An Igbo proverb says that ‘you can guess the taste of the faeces from the smell of the fart.’
So, it means we are in for four years of clowning because truly, only circus clowns can put up such hilarious acts as the 9th Assembly have done this last week in the name of screening ministerial nominees, but given that the assignment is supposed to be serious, one can only term their actions unfortunate.
Ordinarily, ‘take a bow’ is a privilege reserved for nominees, who are former members of the National Assembly. It allows such nominees to simply take a bow and leave without being questioned.
But the Ahmed Lawan-led Senate decided to extend the privilege to all and sundry. How sad!
What purpose does the take a bow privilege serve apart from denying Nigerians the opportunity of an insight into what a nominee can do.
How many Senators make meaningful contributions in the chamber, enough to be adjudged competent for serious national responsibilities or assignments?
Some Senators have been known to sleep through their years in the Senate, should that then qualify them to take a “bow and go?”
If the best Nigerians will get from this Senate is a replay of what transpired in the past week, then it will be best to end the charade and tell the remaining nominees to take a “bow and go,” while the honourable Senators proceed on their annual vacation because they seem to be in a lot of hurry to be done.
Knowing our dear country well, we will find something else to entertain us.