Senate Delays Appointment Of Vice President


ABUJA, May 17, (THEWILL) - The Senate has now become the clog in the wheel of the plan to speedily approve the nomination of a Vice President for the country.

Whereas the House of Representatives had listed the nomination of Kaduna State Governor Namadi Sambo for consideration on Tuesday, the Senate said it is yet to fix a date for the exercise.

President Goodluck Jonathan last Friday forwarded Sambo’s name to the two chambers of the National Assembly for endorsement and prayed the legislature to give the nomination a speedy consideration to enable him resume his office as Vice President in line with section 146 of the constitution.

Section 146 (3) reads "Where the office of Vice-President becomes vacant; (a) by reason of death or resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal in accordance with section 143 or 144 of this Constitution; (b) by his assumption of the office of President in accordance with subsection (1) of this section; or (c) for any other reason, the President shall nominate and, with the approval of each House of the National Assembly, appoint a new Vice-President."

Sambo was nominated Vice President following a vacancy which occurred after the swearing-in of Jonathan as President due the death of late President Umaru Yar'Adua.

However while the House of Representatives immediately listed the issue for debate, the Senate had kept mute on the matter throughout the weekend and only came out on Monday to declare that it would read the President’s request on Tuesday and fix a later date for its consideration.

Senate’s snail speed approach is attributable to its disappointment that the President did not honour its request to nominate its own, Senator Ahmed Makarfi also a former Governor of Kaduna State for the position.

Senators from the north had earlier last week endorsed Makafi and influenced northern lawmakers in the House of Representatives to follow suit.

Jonathan’s decision to nominate Sambo instead of Makarfi was seen as a slight by some senators who began to strategize on ways to frustrate his endorsement by the National Assembly

However, in a statement Monday, Senator Ayogu Eze Chairman Senate Committee on Information and Media confirmed that Senate has received the later but stated that it would not be considered on Tuesday.

He said the letter would only be read on the floor after which a date will be fixed for the consideration of the nomination.

The statement reads, "I wish to confirm that the Senate has received the letter nominating Governor Namadi Sambo to the position of Vice President. In accordance with our rules, the letter will be read as an official correspondence from Mr. President in plenary on Tuesday May 18, 2010. Thereafter a time and date will set when the Senate shall approve the nomination in accordance with section 146 sub-section 3 of the 1999 Constitution. Thanks. Ayogu Eze, Senate Chair, Committee on Information & Media."

It was gathered that Senate’s position is a product of serious lobbying by influential politicians who have been in Abuja since last week to persuade the lawmakers to accept Sambo’s nomination.

Sources also hinted that the Upper House has left the date for the consideration of the nomination vague to allow for further lobbying on the matter.