From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The presidency has assured that the rift between the Executive and Legislative arms of government would be resolved soon.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said that the remarks made by the Acting President about the screening of nominees by the Senate was misconstrued but steps are already being taken to resolve the matter amicably.
In an interview with State House Correspondents, Shehu said the remark about screening of nominees for appointments did not originate from the Acting President.
“Our understanding is that some remarks were made by the Acting President some months ago when he was the Vice President, because the president was around, an opinion he gave is being misconstrued. A senior lawyer in the country offered an opinion, in which he said some categories of public officers traditionally cleared by the National Assembly need not to go through that process, that those ones can be appointed by the Presidential fiat; they don’t have to go through screening. But several months ago, in his position as Vice President, Professor Osinbajo gave a personal opinion saying what this lawyer said makes sense.”
Shehu said the government or its cabinet has not taken any decision on such issue.
“There is no official position by the government of Nigeria and the Federal Executive Council never sat down to take a decision to say that some categories of officials will not be sent to the National Assembly any longer or that the authority of the Senate under the constitution to screen and pass nominees has never been questioned by the government or the Federal Executive Council,” he said.
Shehu added that, in compliance with the provisions of the law, the executive arm has been sending the names of its nominees to the National Assembly for screening and it will continue to do so.
He said all parties involved in the matter will soon meet to thrash it out.
“From the time the Vice President gave that opinion to now, more than 20 nominations have been forwarded to the Senate and quite a number of them have been screened, sworn-in and are now occupying positions therefore, this is not a big issue as some people want to make it. The party, government and the National Assembly will sit on a round table and this matter will be discussed and resolved. I assure you,” he stated.
The Senate on Tuesday resolved not to confirm executive nominees henceforth, till the Acting President apologise for the remarks he made, which the Senate alleged undermined the authority of the legislature.