19 May 2017

Nigeria: Senate Orders Buhari Nominee to Vacate Office Pending Confirmation

The Senate, on Thursday, ordered an appointee of President Muhammadu Buhari, Lanre Gbajabiamila, to stay away from office as the Director-General of the National Lottery Regulation Commission, pending his confirmation in line with the law establishing the agency.

Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye, APC, had told the Senate on Wednesday that‎ Mr. Gbajabiamila had resumed office, after his appointment was announced by Mr. Buhari in April, without Senate confirmation.

Section 8(1) of the Nigerian Lottery Regulation Commission Act says the President shall appoint the Director-General subject to the confirmation of the Senate.

Following Mr. Melaye's complaint, Senate President Bukola Saraki tasked Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan to investigate the allegation.

On Thursday, Mr. Lawan, barely 24 hours after the task was assigned, reported back to the Senate and confirmed Mr. Melaye's information that Mr. Gbajabiamila had resumed in breach of of law.

"The nominee for the office of the Director-General of National Lottery Regulatory Commission actually assumed office," said Mr. Lawan. "I think he was misadvised and, therefore, assumed office without being confirmed.

"But there is a genuine appeal that such thing will not happen again. I have advised that the nominee should not be seen around the office."

Responding, Mr. Saraki commended the Senate Leader for prompt action and ruled Mr. Gbajabiamila must not be seen in office again until his appointment is confirmed by the Senate.

"I think you will agree with me that the Leader has done a very thorough job," Mr. Saraki said. "Not only that, he has responded promptly within 24 hours first of all to establish that the point raised by Senator Dino was factual and he got the assurances that this type of thing will not happen again."

He continued: "We therefore stamp it out and it must not occur again. He has erred and he must probably have been misguided but definitely he must not be seen reporting in that area. Definitely, that must not happen.

"Going forward, for nominees and the executive, we must respect our laws and our processes. Even if he did it, somebody should have been there to direct and guide him. Those who are eager to resume should tarry a while and follow the due process. We will close this matter here."

Mr. Gbajabiamila was one of the 23 persons appointed to head various federal agencies by Mr. Buhari, through an announcement made by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, on April 14

According to the announcement, the appointments were with immediate effect, brushing aside referral to the Senate for confirmation.

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