Ngige backs senate on criteria for screening nominees …. PUNCH

Chris-NgigeA ministerial nominee, Senator Chris Ngige, on Friday said the various criteria outlined by the Senate for the screening of ministerial nominees submitted to it by President Muhammadu Buhari were in conformity with the nation’s constitution.

Ngige spoke with State House correspondents shortly after meeting Buhari behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Chairman, Senate ad hoc Committee on Media and Publicity, Dino Melaye, had on Thursday said senators agreed that each nominee must submit proofs of their asset declaration; must have their nomination approved by at least two senators from their states; and must have a clean bill of health from the senate’s public petitions committee, among other conditions.

But Ngige said he would not lose sleep because of the requirements since they are constitutional.

He said, “Why should I be bordered? The senate is populated by elder statesmen and women and what they say they will do is in conformity with the laws of the land.

“That they will use constitutional requirements which I just mentioned to you now; and they would also use senate rules and they also say they would use the method: ‘bow and go’ which is a tradition.”

Contrary to the various criticisms that have trailed some of the nominees, Ngige said the composition showed that the President was committed to leading the country with people of cognate experience.

While saying that there is no pushover among the 21 names submitted to the Senate, the former Anambra State governor expressed the conviction that the team would help Buhari deliver on his electoral promises earlier than envisaged.

He said, “If you look at the list critically, you will observe that the President wants to work with people who have cognate experience in governance.

“When I say cognate experience, we are talking of people who have been tested, tried and trusted by their various people.

“So, I don’t think Nigerians should expect anything less than what the President is already doing.

“The team will help the President to deliver on most of the promises he made to Nigerian people.”

Ngige also said there was no merit in the criticism that the President did not attach portfolios to the names of the nominees.

He said, “The constitution does not say you must attach portfolio. The constitution just prescribed that those to be appointed as ministers must have qualifications that will enable them to be members of the House of Representatives.”

“That is the minimum and you know that the age of the House of Representatives is lower than that of the Senate and the education qualifications as enshrined in the constitution.”