Indications have emerged that the Senate might invoke Order 131 of its rules to block the re-nomination of the embattled Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, for confirmation as substantive head of the anti-graft agency after it rejected his nomination for a second time last Wednesday.
The Order, Sunday Sun gathered, bars President Muhammadu Buhari from re-presenting Magu to the Senate for screening in spite of the argument in some quarters that the President can re-nominate him for the position for as many times as he likes under the EFCC Act.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, in a statement yesterday said that following the Senate’s rejection of the nomination of Magu as chairman of the EFCC on two different occasions, President Buhari could not validly re-nominate him again.
Melaye, while commenting on the debate in the media about whether Magu could continue to act as EFCC boss in spite of the rejection of his nomination by the Senate or if the President can re-nominate him, said there is a provision of the Senate Rules which would not allow members to consider Magu for the same position again. Citing Order 131 of the Senate Rules, Melaye said after the rejection of Magu’s nomination, his candidacy lapsed. He, therefore, advised the President to search for a fresh nominee who is qualified in terms of experience, integrity, knowledge and temperament to lead the anti-graft agency.
Order 131 of Senate Rules, which Melaye referred to, states that “nominations neither confirmed nor rejected during the session or within 21 working days in the case of ministerial nominees shall be returned by the Clerk to the National Assembly to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and shall not again be made to the Senate by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The Senator, who insisted that Magu did not impress anybody including senators who would have been sympathetic to his cause during the confirmation hearing in the Senate, urged President Buhari to look for a replacement and avoid actions that may result in the violation of the laws of the land.
“Those suggesting to the President that after failing to scale the confirmation process twice, the President should leave Magu to be acting are only recommending violation of the law, disrespect for due process and perpetration of illegality. All these will only undermine democracy and constitutionalism in our country.
“Those drafters of the law who made the provision that the Senate should confirm the nomination of the EFCC chairman did not make any mistake and nobody should observe the law in the breach by getting a person who has not been confirmed into that office. Magu is not greater than the law creating EFCC.
Magu is not the last messiah. He can’t be the only competent person for the job out of 170 million Nigerians. Should he voluntarily decline the appointment today, will EFCC fold up?” the senator asked.