The Senate is to postpone its long vacation by one week to enable it consider President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial list that was sent to the upper legislature last night, THISDAY is reporting .
The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, had wednesday afternoon assured his colleague that the list was on its way.
THISDAY learnt from reliable presidency and Senate sources that the upper chamber might have reached an understanding with the president that the list of ministers would be considered and approved before the recess.
The National Assembly is scheduled to proceed on its long vacation on July 25, meaning that the intervening two weeks going by Senate rules and procedure might not be sufficient to screen the ministerial nominees.
Lawan had assured his colleagues, who expressed worry that except the list was transmitted immediately, it might not be considered until after the recess in last week of September, that the list was on the way.
“If the president sends in the list today,” said a ranking senator, “it cannot be considered until the upper week as it would have to, by Senate rules, be referred for one week.”
He explained that it means the Senate would not be able to begin consideration of the nominees until July 23, leaving the senators only three days before the recess. “That is an impossible task even if we work 24/7,” the senator, who did not want to be mentioned, said.
But a reliable presidency source told THISDAY last night that the president had reached an understanding with the Senate leadership that the upper chamber would grant a week postponement to enable the senators to confirm the nominees.
THISDAY also gathered that Buhari wednesday sought Senate approval for the appointment of 15 special advisers to assist him in the discharge of his responsibilities.
The source confirmed a statement by Mr. Charles Akpan, a Deputy Director in the Office of the Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, sighted in the website of PRNigeria, which said the president in his request, cited Section 151 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which confers on him the power to appoint special advisers to assist him in the discharge of his responsibilities.
According to the statement, the president appealed to the senators to treat the request with dispatch.
The statement added that the request is expected to be read at plenary thursday.
Several attempts to confirm the information from presidential liaison officer, Senator Ita Enang, fell through as he didn’t pick his calls.
When THISDAY contacted a top presidential source, who did not want to be named, he said he had no doubt about the truism of the story.
He said his belief was predicated on two factors, one, that the statement emanated from the office of Enang, and two, that he saw the draft of the letter in the office of the president on Friday.
He encouraged THISDAY to go ahead with the story, insisting that he had no doubt that it was true.
“I have no doubt that the statement is true because it is coming from the office of Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters.
“Two, I saw the draft on Friday but the Chief of Staff was not around. You can go ahead. I have no doubt that it is true,” he insisted.