Discordant tunes in Senate over Buhari’s appointees

By Christiana Ekpa and Ikechukwu Okaforadi

Senators yesterday took turn to accuse President Muhammadu Buhari of appointing incompetent people into his cabinet, asking the President to sack his cabinet members if they cannot do their job.
This was just as Senator Isa Misau (APC Bauchi Central) said Buhari’s Ministers were spearheading a move to remove Senate President Bukola Saraki from office.
Misau, who disclosed this on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday while contributing to a motion sponsored by Shuaibu Lau, senator representing Taraba South, on herdsmen attacks in his state, said the appointment of the Director General of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ahmed Abubakar, was shrouded with favoritism.
He alleged that Abubakar failed examinations preceding his appointment.
It can be recalled that President Buhari appointed Mr. Abubakar as the substantive DG of the NIA on Wednesday, January 10.
Misau said the appointment of Abubakar who was until then the Senior Special Assistant to the President, SSAP, on Foreign Affairs/International Relations, was improper.
“Today, the DG NIA that was just appointed, is he qualified to be there? He’s not qualified. This is the person that failed two exams, we know. He failed two exams; and just because he is close to people taking decisions, he was appointed.”
He berated President Buhari for surrounding himself with incompetent people who “take decisions anyhow.”
“So many incompetent people are holding so many positions. Fifty per cent of the ministers are not performing. Since the president assumed office he has not taken any decision to move this country. Today we are seeing it and everybody is avoiding it, nobody wants to say anything.
“So many appointments in this government are not on merit. Some people have taken over the government as if they are even above the president. They take decisions anyhow. We say we are fighting corruption. Why can’t they take Babachir (Lawal, former SGF) to court and all of us are here keeping quiet. This is Babachir who the vice-president’s committee indicted.
“Today, they are pursuing other people. People who have not done anything are always in court. This is the man that squandered money meant for IDPs and he is still visiting villa every day.”
“This Attorney-General is becoming a nuisance, going to court to stop Maina (probe) and we are still here. The IG came here with a lawyer that he is not going to answer any question from the Senate. After that, he went to institute an order restraining Senate from investigating him.”
Senator Misua said the unnamed persons are plotting to remove the Senate President because of his alleged plan to defect from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He wondered why issues in the country had to be tied to religion and tribe.
“When we were on holiday, so many people were going behind that they should try and remove the senate president. During this holiday, a minister was spearheading that thing,” Misau said.
“What is the reason, they said that the senate president would leave APC, that they should create problems for him (Saraki). What kind of country is this? Everything is about religion, about tribe.
“It is high time for us to do something. If it’s about talking here or holding conferences, it would not solve this problem (of security challenges). We should look at security, who and who are holding offices? Are they appointed on merit?
Also, Senator Ben Murray Bruce who asked the President to sack all his cabinet members said the president appointees cannot do their job properly.
“If they cannot do their job properly, they should be sacked, so that others can be employed.
“People are being killed every day, and we just hold our hands. It is not about talking. We must do something, take actions.”
According to him, the security system in the country has failed total.
But Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC Nasarawa West) disagreed with the other senators.
“I subscribe and accept the principle that guides the essence of every government. It is the protection, preservation of life. For anybody to say there are no security problems in Nigeria, that person is deceiving himself.
“But we say, and it is true, that we are supposed to be statesmen; we are supposed to be statesmen that have been carefully elected to come to this upper chamber of the Nigerian National Assembly. I appreciate Mr. President. As legislators, we operate, we make our contributions, our interpretation with the full cover of what we call parliamentary immunity or privileges.
“The position of a statesman is not that of adding fire to injury. We must not. I don’t believe that we should take the advantage of our position here. I don’t believe we should stand here and condemn the administration in its entirety. It is wrong.
“I will not accepted anybody coming here virtually calling the president by names and condemning the Federal Government. It is not right. The issue of security is everybody’s concern.”
Earlier, as part of the resolution on the security summit, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said: “I will like to suggest, that we suspend plenary by Wednesday and Thursday next week and hold the security summit under the leadership of the president of the Senate that will enable us have a true picture of what is happening all over the country and be able to hear other people in terms of the solutions and come up with immediate steps to halt these killings going on around the country.”
This view was Seconded by James Manager.
In his remarks the Senate President Bukola Saraki said: “I believe what we need to be focusing on are solutions.”
Senate resolved to suspend plenary for two days for it to hold a security summit which will focus on tackling suspected Fulani herdsmen killings, kidnapping and other forms of violent crimes.
The lawmakers have, therefore, scheduled January 24 and 25 to hold the summit in Abuja.

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