Nigeria: Ministerial Screening - Senate Sticks to Tradition, Asks Akume, Akpabio to 'Take a Bow'

Nigerian Senate.

The Senate has asked a former governor of Benue State and ministerial nominee, George Akume, to 'take a bow' and not answer questions from lawmakers as part of his screening to become a minister.

The lawmakers who made the call said it should be done as has been the tradition of the Senate.

When lawmakers tell a nominee to "take a bow" during screening, it means the lawmakers deem he/she is fit for the position that the person was appointed and such, ask little or no questions.

The acting Senate spokesperson, Adedayo Adeyeye, and Uba Sani, a member of the Senate Committee on Media, had on Tuesday, told journalists that the screening would be thorough.

When asked if ministerial nominees who perform below expectation will be confirmed, Mr Sani said the ninth Senate will take the screening process very seriously.

"Those who usually will be asked to bow, this time around we will try as much as possible to ask them so they explain to the public what they intend to do.

"Even those who are returning will be asked to tell Nigerians their plan.

"We believe all the nominees of the president are qualified," Mr Sani said.

Mr Adeyeye also said the Senate is an independent body and the constitution gives the lawmakers the role to either confirm or reject a nominee.

This was, however, not the case as Emmanuel Orker-Jev (Benue North) was the first to move that Mr Akume, a former senator, should take a bow. The move was supported by few other lawmakers including the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege.

"To ensure that tradition and convention is respected, I support that he take a bow given his length of service... ," Mr Omo-Agege said.

When it was the turn of Godswill Apkabio, he was asked to introduce himself and make a comment after which lawmakers began to call for him to take a bow.

The Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, said "I wish that this tradition was not there. I would have made Godswill sweat. I have met with my caucus and they have told me that they are in full support of the move.

We want to, in keeping with our tradition, wish you well and expect that you don't turn against this chamber. I hope you work uncommonly to work with us, Mr Abaribe said.

Mr Akpabio, a former Akwa Ibom State governor, is also a former senator.

In his words, the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, also threw his weight behind other senators.

"I know it is tradition also. A relationship based on mutual respect. We expect that when you become a minister, you will lead according to expectations.

"We will work together with the executive. We are in a haste to deliver but it takes the two arms of government to deliver," he said.

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