By NBF News

Senate approves five new advisers for Jonathan
By Emmanuel Ogala
March 12, 2010 05:24AM
Acting President Goodluck Jonathan
The Senate has approved the request of the acting president, Goodluck Jonathan, to appoint five new special advisers.

Mr. Jonathan had on Tuesday written the Senate seeking their approval for the appointment of five more advisers following his recent elevation from vice president and the attendant higher work load he has to shoulder.

Mr. Jonathan made the request less than 24 hours after he sacked Sarki Mukhtar and appointed Aliyu Gusau as the new National Security Adviser.

Needing help
In the letter to the Senate, Mr. Jonathan said the appointments are to compliment the exigencies of his new office. He however did not mention the names or offices for which he intends to deploy the new special advisers. The Senate did not also bother to ask for the names or offices because the law empowers the president to appoint and deploy advisers as he wishes.

Senate sources, however, say they believe the acting president will fix the nominees in key areas such as politics, economy, National Assembly and petroleum. The advisers are expected to hold the office as long as Mr. Jonathan is acting president.

What Uwais report?
The senators however denied reports that the acting president sent unedited copies of the report of the Mohammed Uwais-led Electoral Reform Committee to the Senate a fortnight ago.

Anthony Manzo, the deputy spokesman of the Senate, said the Senate had the unedited copies of the report since last year, before President Umaru Yar'Adua left the country.

He said the Senate got the report when it began to consider the six electoral reform bills sent to the National Assembly by President Yar'Adua.

“The various legislations that imply the amendment of the 1999 constitution accompanied the Uwais report and the Senate has already taken a lot of decisions on the various bills that are implied in the Uwais report,” Mr. Manzo said. “Already, some of these bills have been referred to the committee on the amendment of the 1999 constitution. If we got it from the acting president two weeks ago, there is no way we could act on it and pass the necessary legislations before the 2011 elections. It is not correct to say the acting president sent it two weeks ago.”