Senate vows not to approve Aisha Ahmad, others

A fresh round of crisis may erupt between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate following plans by the upper legislative chamber not to screen and approve president’s nominees until Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is sacked.

The nominees are for the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The president forwarded their names two weeks ago.

The Senate, it was reliably gathered, is taking the decision to indefinitely suspend the screening and confirmation of the MPC nominees until the presidency relieves Magu of his duties, in line with his rejection by the lawmakers which screened and found him unsuitable for the office.

The same treatment, it was learnt, would be visited on the newly nominated Deputy Governor of the CBN, Aishah Ahmad, whose name had been forwarded to the Senate for confirmation.

It would be recalled that Magu had twice appeared before the Senate for screening.

The Senate found him unworthy to become substantive chairman of EFCC on both occasions.

However, the presidency has refused to let go of Magu, keeping him on the job to the consternation of the Senate.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, had at the peak of the struggle to get Magu sacked, said that the power of confirmation by the Senate was not absolute, insisting that presidential nominees could not be rejected by the upper legislative chamber.

To show its seriousness and power of confirmation of presidential nominees, the Senate refused to confirm the nomination of Lanre Gbajabiamila as Director-General of the National Lottery Commission and dared the executive to swear him in and take office.

The office of the DG Lottery Commission is still vacant owing to the decision of the parliament.

The MPC nominees submitted for screening are Adeola Adenikinju; Aliyu Sanusi; Robert Asogwa, and Asheikh Maidugu.

They are to replace four members whose tenure expires at the end of this year.

In accordance with the law, the nominees cannot take office in January as planned, until they are cleared for office by the Senate.

However, a dependable source told INDEPENDENT in confidence that the senators who were still angry with the presidency over retention of Magu have vowed that, henceforth, no nominee of the president would be attended to until Magu was sent packing.

It was further gathered that the angry senators had impressed it on the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, that any attempt to manipulate the parliament under any guise would boomerang.

The decision to refuse confirmation for the MPC nominees, if carried out, would negatively affect the important duties of the MPC.

Foremost economist, Mr. Henry Boyo, said the stance of the senators may not have any adverse effect on the meeting as decisions at the meetings lately had been politicised.

“To me, I don’t think it is important if the membership is twelve or seven.

“This will not affect the meetings. I don’t see any difference because most times the decisions arrived at in meetings are always influenced by government.

“It will change nothing if they are complete or not. It is the people who are influencing them that will have their way.”

In his own contribution, Dr. Ayo Teriba, another economist, said the number did not matter here in Nigeria as in most of the meetings absenteeism was a normal occurrence.

“I don’t think this will stall meetings of the MPC. Well, in the Nigerian situation, absenteeism doesn’t need to be an issue.

“In other parts of the country, all members will invariably attend. I have watched the Bank of England; there is no meeting in which any member of the bank has ever been absent.

“There is no time that the National Assembly will refuse to confirm somebody.

“There are like 150 million Nigerians, if one is not confirmed, another will be nominated.”

The new nomination of Aishah Ahmad as Deputy Governor of the bank had been generating controversy in the past two weeks.

While some people believe she was not competent to hold the office, others strongly believe that she was qualified to assume office.

Mike Omeife, Head, Media Relations at Diamond Bank, said she was qualified to be appointed to the new position, and that she had been executive director at the bank.

He said her appointment as Deputy Governor of CBN was based on her wealth of experience.

Aishah Ahmad was a staff of Diamond Bank.

Mrs. Ahmad was appointed deputy governor of the apex bank on Thursday, October 5, and is billed to replace Sarah Alade, who retired from the bank as deputy governor (economic policy) in March 2017.

She is expected to assume duty as CBN deputy governor immediately after her confirmation by the Senate.

The Monetary Policy Committee is the highest policy-making committee of the bank and it consists of the governor of the bank who is the chairman, the four deputy governors of the bank, two members of the board of directors of the bank, three members appointed by the president, and two members appointed by the governor.

The MPC has the mandate to review economic and financial conditions in the economy; determine appropriate stance of policy in the short to medium term; review regularly, the CBN monetary policy framework and adopt changes when necessary and also communicate monetary/financial policy decisions effectively to the public and ensure the credibility of the model of transmission mechanism of monetary policy.

Source: Daily Independent

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