Finally, Senate succumbs to Shehu Sani’s call, considers CBN board nominees

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The Nigerian Senate
The Nigerian Senate

The Senate on Wednesday considered a one-year-old request by President Muhammadu Buhari for the confirmation of five nominees as members of the board of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the president had, in March 2017, sought Senate’s approval for the appointments of Prof. Ummu Ahmed Jalingo, Prof. Justitia Odinakachukwu Nnabuko, Prof. Mike Obadan, Dr. Abdu Abubakar, and Adeola Adetunji, as CBN board members.

The presidential confirmation request, however, met with the existing embargo the upper chamber had placed on appointments not listed in Section 171 of the Nigerian Constitution.

Apparently disturbed the circumstance, the Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, had on May 9 raised a point of order during the plenary urging the lawmakers to lift the embargo on the confirmation of the President’s nominees for the board of the CBN.

The Senator claimed that the country’s central bank is the only one in Africa that operates without a board of directors.

Considering the request on Wednesday, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, referred the request to the Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, which will screen the nominees and mandated it to report back in two weeks.

In his remarks on the prayer, the Senate president had said, “We have taken note of your comments and we will look into it.”

Earlier in March, Chairman of the Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Rafiu Ibrahim, had pleaded with the Senate to lift the embargo on those Mr Buhari appointed as CBN deputy governors and members of the Monetary Policy Committee.

He had warned that the non-existence of the MPC was threatening the country’s economy, forcing the Senate to consider the President’s request for legislative approval.

The Presidency had on March 19, 2018, when the nominees were screened, urged the Senate to further lift the embargo placed on executive appointments made by Mr Buhari, particularly for the CBN board members.

The Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, expressed the plea when the Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions screened

Mr Enang had said, “Let me on behalf of the executive express the sincere gratitude of the executive to the Senate for lifting what appears to be an injunction and considering this matter at this time. I want to really appreciate that.

“Again, I know that with the magnanimity of the Senate, you will extend this goodwill to other nominees, in particular, those of the board members because some board members are also members of the Monetary Policy Committee.”

The Senate had later on March 22, 2018, confirmed Aishah Ahmad and Edward Adamu as CBN deputy governors; and three of the four MPC members, Adeola Festus Adenikinju, Aliyu Rafindadi Sanusi, Robert Chikwendu Asogwa.