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Downsides of ministerial screening

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Babatunde-FasholaSIR: The ministerial nomination has come and gone but the ripples remain. Even though we had less of: “bow down and go,” it could have been better. They should have been harassed and grilled with tougher questions for these reasons: to give Nigerians who may not know them the chance to measure their emotional and cerebral agility required for the arduous job of a federal minister and for the international community watching proceedings test how sacrosanct our democracy is.

‘Madam Secretary,’ Hillary Clinton’s drubbing by a joint session of Republicans and Democrats for 11 hours on her role in the Benghazi affair was a beauty to behold, poise, class, adroitness, thought provoking questions and the statesmanly assessment of her performance by the Republican chairman of the committee at session end.

Rewind back to the day a ministerial nominee from Rivers State was scheduled to be screened. The other party refused to ask the nominee questions on agreed principles. What is democracy?

I thought democrats learn something from other’s perspectives and shift their views when they need must, I thought they charm the other constituents with their ideas, I thought they collaborate many times the way Democrats and Republicans begged Gerald Ford for a presidential reprieve to Richard Nixon over Watergate affair. I thought democrats do not miss out on the opportunity to be engaged in effective and heart-oriented harangue to achieve national goals. Especially since this present writer isn’t yet aligned to any party and is seeking for the opportunity to be so aligned on superior ideological grounds.

While it is important to be silent sometimes, it should be with respect and not manipulative but when democrats avoid the opportunity for shared beliefs, then what we have breeds antagonism.

When Senators stage a walkout as they did on Thursday, October 29, 2015 because of disagreements, which are necessary in a democracy, then it can be argued that ours is politics of nihilism.

• Simon Abah, Port Harcourt, Rivers State



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