House mulls timeframe for appointment of ministers by president
The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, passed for second reading, a bill seeking to provide a framework for transition of power.
The bill seeks to create a committee that will oversee the transition of power from an outgoing president and president-elect.
Furthermore, the bill is proposing a 30-day timeline for a president to transmit nominees for ministerial positions to the National Assembly.
The bill, sponsored by Kpam Sokpo (PDP, Benue), was considered and referred to the committee on special duties.
Leading the debate on the bill, Mr Sokpa said it seeks to provide a legal framework for the procedure of transition of power.
Speaking in support of the bill, the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), said if passed, it would kill the mischief of “body language and discretion by an outgoing president.”
He stated; “This is a very important bill. What mischief does it intend to cure? It will kill the mischief of discretion. The transition period is a period when a country is vulnerable.
“It is the time for transition, not a time for the body language of anyone. In 2015, we lost about six months due to the fact that our cabinet was formed by the president. It happened again in 2019.
“The opportunity cost is huge. The same thing is happening in states.”
Section one of the bill seeks to establish a transition committee to be chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Other members of the proposed committee are; Attorney General of the Federation, Permanent Secretary of the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Information.
Others are the Chief of Staff to the President, National Security Adviser, Chief of Defence Staff, Inspector General of Police, Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly and Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court.
The president-elect will also nominate six members into the committee.
The committee will have the powers to prepare a budget for the transition process, subject to the approval of the National Assembly.
According to section nine of the bill, the committee will also ensure the provision of adequate security for the president-elect and vice-president-elect upon pronouncement of election results by the electoral umpire, INEC.
Section 19 provides that a president risks impeachment by the National Assembly if he/she fails to appoint ministers within 30 days of his/her inauguration.
According to section 19(1), the president must appoint ministers within 30 days of assuming office while 19(2) gives two months for the composition of all boards of government agencies and parastatals.
In 2015, President Muhamadu Buhari appointed ministers six months after he was inaugurated on May 29.
When the bill was put to vote by the presiding officer, the ” ayes” had it.
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