Despite contrary view on the composition of the Federal Character Commission (FCC), the Senate yesterday confirmed the 37 nominees forwarded to it by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia South), had objected to the emerging trend in which Nigerians from the same part of the country would be appointed as Chairman and Secretary of the commission.
Abaribe, who made the observation before confirmation of the nominees’ appointments, said the two principal positions in the commission have always been occupied on North and South basis.
He argued that while competent Nigerians from the North have been appointed as Chairman of the FCC, its Secretary had always come from the South in line with section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“Appointment of Mohammed Bello Tukur from Taraba State in 2017 gave the impression that a new Chairman would be from the South, but nomination of Dr. Muheeba Dankaka from Kwara State as the new chairman, violated the principle.
“The Senate needs to review this in the spirit of federal character principles,” he said. But Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, countered Abaribe, saying his submission was targeted at President Buhari’s powers to nominate and appoint competent Nigerians into public office.
On his part, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, corroborated Omo-Agege’s submission by presenting names of the nominees for confirmation, which were confirmed through voice votes.
Besides, the Senate received a request to replace Daniel James Kolo, who died on May 19, 2020 with James Jiya Kolo, as Kwara State representative in the FCC.
The President also requested the confirmation of Tella Adeniran Rahmon, as Osun State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).
Meanwhile, the Senate approved the revised Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), raised the $25 per barrel oil price benchmark as proposed by the executive to $28 per barrel.
It also reduced oil production from 1.9m barrel per day to 1.8m per barrel per day, due to Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC’s) decision to cut output.
It declared funds kept in the Natural Resources Development Accounts as waste, saying its decisions followed consideration and adoption of a report of its Finance Committee, which the executive mandated to work on the revised MTEF/FSP documents.
Other critical parameters such as exchange rate of N360 to one US dollar, 14 .43 inflation growth rate, 4.42 GDP growth rate were retained, insisting that the resolutions were predicated on current realities and global economic downturn.
Chairman of the Committee, Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West) said increase in the oil benchmark was as a result of the recent upward trend of the crude oil market, which stood at $38 per barrel with expectation that it rise to between $40 and $45 per barrel.
Lawan urged Senate Committee on Privatisation to liaise with the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to ensure that the projected N260b from proceeds of privatised agencies was realised and used to fund the budget.