Ministerial Screening: Nigerians Knock Senate Over ‘Take A Bow’ Ritual


Many Nigerians have condemned the approach of the Nigerian senate in screening President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees.

They described the ‘take a bow and go’ culture at the screening as a farce and charade, adding that the trend won’t help the country as sentiments were priority at the expense of competence.  

The ‘take a bow and go’ arrangement began in 2003 and it was introduced as a courtesy and privilege for any nominees who had been elected to the Senate or House of Representatives in the past. 

The privilege is now being extended to all persons with previous legislative experience at state levels. 

Nigerians are now witnessing the worst screening exercise in the history of the country with nominees, related to lawmakers, asked to  ‘take a bow’. 

Other categories of nominees who now enjoy ‘the take a bow and go’ prerogative were all female nominees and all nominees from the state of origin of incumbent Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, as well as national officers of the ruling party. 

The beneficiaries include Godswill Akpabio ( Akwa Ibom), George Akume ( Benue), Emeka Nwajuaba ( Imo), Adeleke Mamora ( Lagos), Rotimi Amaechi  ( Rivers), Tayo Alasoadura ( Ondo).

Others are  Mustapha Shehuri ( Borno), Timipre  Sylva  ( Bayelsa), Abubakar Aliyu ( Yobe), Sharon Ikeazor  ( Anambra), Ramatu Aliyu ( Kogi), Sadiya Umar Farouk ( Zamfara ) were excluded from being grilled. 

The privilege was also extended to Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo ( Ekiti), Chris Ngige ( Anambra ) and Muhammadu Musa Bello ( Adamawa).

The senate minority leader, Enyinaya Abaribe had called the attention of the senate to the negative effects of the policy. 

He stated that in global parliamentary practices confirmation hearings were conducted for nominees to access their competence and qualification for the appointment of being a minister. 

He explained that confirmation hearings were different from endorsement hearings.  

Section 147 (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which granted senate the power to confirm appointments does not make a provision for the ‘take a bow’ policy. 

Abaribe said, “This is a confirmation hearing, it is not  an endorsement hearing and I so move that we abide by what the constitution says.” 

Some civil society organisations have expressed dissatisfaction with the senate for insisting on the policy saying it is an indication that the Lawan-led senate could become a rubber stamp and stooge of the executive. 

In a statement by Executive Director Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic ( CASER), Frank Tietie, said that checks and balances which would have improved the performance of government would suffer when legislative scrutiny appeared to be lax.

He condemned the policy just as he called on the Senate to show a sense of seriousness and change of approach toward the screening. 

In his reaction, the Director of Center for Democracy and Development ( CDD), Austin Aigbe, said that senate is charged with the duty to engage the nominees on topical issues that would liberate the country from the myriad of challenges being faced.

He said, “What we see now is that you are former senator, former House member so you bow and go. The funny one is that your brother used to be a member of the  National Assembly and you come from the area where the Senate President is from and because of that, you take a bow? What does that add to the Nigerian state?” 

Some senators, were, however, uncomfortable with the policy which they said, did not give them the opportunity to ask nominees relevant questions.

Nigerians expected the lawmakers to subject other nominees to the same rigorous scrutiny that was given to a nominee Uchechukwu Ogah from ( Abia ) who took the first shot. 

Many people have also faulted the President for not attaching portfolios to the nominees and making the whole exercise a mockery. They argued that the screening of the nominees without portfolios would give no room to understand their competence. 

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SaharaReporters, New York

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