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Presidency Kicks Against Presidential Transition Committee

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ABUJA, Nov 03, (THEWILL) - The Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Yayale Ahmed has said the proposed law to establish a Presidential Transition Committee would erode the powers of the president and therefore should be discarded.

Two bills in the House of Representatives if passes would set up a Presidential Transition Committee that would be responsible for the smooth transition of government from an out going administration to a new government. The SGF also rejected the bill seeking to make it mandatory for the President to assign portfolios to ministerial nominees before submitting their names to the Senate for screening and confirmation.

Yayale Ahmed who was making a presentation at a public hearing on the two bills organised by the House Committee on Governmental Affairs argued that if the bill becomes law, it will belittle the powers of the president as enshrined in Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution explaining that such a law would be dangerous for the system.

Represented by the Legal Adviser in his office, Abdulhamid Ibrahim, the SGF insisted that eroding the powers of the president would have multiplier effect within the context of the executive arm. He urged the lawmakers to drop the bill. According to him, the office of SGF is political head of the executive and that enacting a law for the purpose of presidential inauguration is very dangerous for the growth of democracy.

“Consisting issues of administration into law is very dangerous. Law gives birth to administration and administration operates according to law.

“How can a law state that the President and Vice President elect should be conveyed with a presidential jet? It is only natural they should. The current trend in the world is to discourage putting everything into legislation to allow for flexibility and avoid confusion,” he said. He noted that: “Section 5 of the constitution states that all executive powers of the Federation is vested in the President. There should be flexibility for the President to be able to decide who goes to which ministry at any point in time. By doing this you are lowering the powers of the President which is the rallying point of all executive powers,” he added.

On the Bill seeking to compel the president to forward names of ministerial nominees with portfolios to the Senate before confirmation, the chief legal officer said it is not practicable because ministers are appointed at the pleasure of the president and could be fired at will.

He argued that there is no need to make a law that would make the president run to the legislature each time he wants to effect a change in his cabinet to seek for clearance.

Earlier, chairman of the House Committee on Governmental Affairs, Hon. Leo Ogor (PDP, Delta) explained that the essence of the bill is to ensure that national interest is protected in every transition to power.

He argued that the intent of the bill was not to whittle down the powers of the president but instead to strengthen government and “ensure that round holes are placed in round holes.”