The face-off between the Senate and the executive, may soon resurface, following the refusal of the upper legislative chamber to confirm twelve names sent to it as Residents Electoral Commissioners (RECs) by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senate, at its Thursday’s plenary, however confirmed fifteen, out of the twenty seven names forwarded to it by President Buhari on the 28th of March, 2017. The names were referred to the committee on the 2nd of May, 2017.
Chairman of the Senate committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Suleiman Nazif, while submitting the report, said the twelve nominees appeared before the committee for the screening.
He also revealed that the nominees passed the security screening, conducted by the Department of State Services (DSS). He equally told his colleagues that the nominees responded to questions posed to them by the committee members.
Senator Nazif, however, made a U-turn when he claimed that the confirmation of the twelve nominees was kept in abeyance as a result of an ongoing screening exercise.
He did not also reveal when the twelve nominees will be cleared for confirmation. The twelve nominees are Jibrin Ibrahim Zarewa (Kano), Asmau Sani Maikudi (Katsina), Dr. Mahmuda Isah (Kebbi), Prof. Samuel Egwu (Kogi), Amb. Rufus Akeju (Lagos), Prof. Mustapha Zubairu (Niger), Sam Olugbadebo Olumekun (Ondo), AbdulGaniyu Olayinka Taju (Oyo), Prof. Riskuwa Shehu (Sokoto), Kasim Gana Geidam (Yobe), Ahmad Bello Mahmud (Zamfara) and Mike Igini (Delta).
The names of the fifteen RECs nominees confirmed so far are Prof. Godswill Obioma (Abia), Ibrahim Abdullahi (Adamawa), Alhaji Ahmad Makama (Bauchi), James Apam (Benue), Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji (Ebonyi), Dr. Illoh Joseph Chuks (Enugu), Hussaini Halilu Pai (FCT), Sadiq Abubakar Musa (Kaduna)
Others include Agboke Mutiu Olaleke (Ogun), Dr. Nentawe Goshwe Yilwatda (Plateau), Umar Ibrahim (Taraba), Prof. Francis Chukwuemeka Ezeonu (Anambra), Mr. Emeka Ononamadu Joseph (Imo), Obo. O. Effanga (Cross River) and Dr. Briyai O. Frankland (Baylesa).
On the 28th of March, 2017, when the letter from the President was first read, the consideration of the nominees was deferred, following a point of order raised by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi.
The Senate, while adopting the position canvassed by Senator Nwaoboshi, urged President Buhari to respect the outcome of its decision on the rejection of the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu.
Failure to take heed, the Senate had vowed that it will not consider or confirm the 27 names of RECs, sent to it by President Buhari.
The Senate had subsequently directed its President, Bukola Saraki, to within two weeks, convey its position about the non-replacement of Magu to Buhari and report back to allow it take further legislative actions on the matter.
Saraki did not report to the Senate on the outcome of his consultations with President Buhari.