OrderPaperToday – Senior Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly matters (Senate), Ita Enang has explained why President Muhammadu Buhari did not attach portfolios when he sent the ministerial list to the red chamber.
Concerns were raised on the screening process by Senators because portfolios were not given to the nominees.
Speaking at a Press briefing on Wednesday, Enang explained that the course of an assignment for any nominee is subject to change by the President within the tenure.
He explained: “You are saying that the President should have attached portfolios. I am sure from 1999 – 2000 this question has been asked. And so this question has been asked for the past 20 years and it is under the 1999 constitution and the constitution says that the President shall appoint persons as ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria subject to confirmation of the Senate.
“The constitution did not oblige the President or a governor to attach a ministry or a portfolio in his nomination to the legislature. The reason is this the candidate is screened and cleared as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he is not cleared as a minster of education or minister of health or…. Industry.
“And of course portfolios may change and the structure of government may not be the same as it were. Again when a minister is screened and cleared, he is assigned a portfolio, it may arise in the course of his assignment the president or the governor decide to reassign him to another ministry at that time if you assign and the person is screened and in respect of that portfolio, that means the President may have to send the name again back to the Senate for screening or for confirmation.
“That is why the constitution did not make it mandatory to assign portfolio while sending it to the legislature. Therefore the President has not done anything wrong.”
Asked why the President did not inaugurate the nominees on Wednesday being the meeting day of Federal Executive Council, Enang said: “The President upon receipt of the communication from the National Assembly will on a date he will fix and notify the screened and cleared nominee inaugurate them as appropriate.”