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Senate charges Presidency to uphold merit, federal character in appointments

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{FILES] Senate


Worried by incessant allegations of lopsidedness and discrimination in appointments, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, has charged the Presidency to uphold merit and federal character principles.

The committee also charged the Presidency to ensure that potential appointees meet the eligibility criteria stipulated for the relevant public offices.

The lawmakers sounded a note of caution that abuse of the federal character principle, merit and appointment criteria could compromise the unity of the country.

In his remarks at the screening of the Chief Judge of FCT High Court nominee, Salisu Garba Abdullahi, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Opeyemi Bamidele, said: “The need for merit and compliance with the rules in the consideration of citizens for appointment, including the ones that will come before the Senate for confirmation, must be re-emphasised for the record.

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“Adequate care must be taken to ensure that the federal character principle established by virtue of the clear provision of Section 14, Sub-section (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as altered) is not undermined.”

According to Bamidele, Section 14 (3) of the Constitution states: “The composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies.”

The senators charged individuals and bodies saddled with the responsibility of making recommendations to the President to ensure compliance with the eligibility criteria and the federal character principle, to avoid unnecessarily heating up the polity and eroding the unity and strength of our country.

According to the committee, Nigeria has “an extremely bright and exciting future in one indivisible and indissoluble nation that is propelled by unity in diversity.”

It advised that all hands must be on deck to ensure this aspiration is guided jealously. In a swift response, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Babajide Omoworare, assured the Senate that the presidency had noted all observations made by the committee.

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