THE CHARADE CALLED SENATE MINISTERIAL SCREENING

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By Austin Emaduku

Nigeria is indeed a funny country. The rest of the world must be having a healthy laugh at our expense with regard to the ongoing charade called Ministerial screening.

It is very clear from what is going on in the Senate that we are yet not serious about good governance in this country. Our leaders seem to be more interested in the privileges of office than service to the people.

It is bad enough that portfolios are not attached to the names of Ministerial nominees sent to the Senate for screening and confirmation thereby restricting the Senators in the type of questions to ask the nominees.

But the Senate itself does not appear interested in, or seem to be oblivious of the weighty responsibility that the confirmation hearing confers on it as regards good governance.
It is only in Nigeria that the Senate can make rules to exclude former members nominated for ministerial positions from being screened or questioned for competence by being asked to take a bow and leave.

The underlying assumption here is that anyone who has ever served as a Senator in Nigeria is infallible and indisputably qualified without question to hold any Ministerial position as against those who have not had the fortune of being elected Senators. Since when does being elected a Senator confer competence on anyone?

I recall watching Jeff Sessions, a very senior member of the United States of America Senate get drilled by his former colleagues when he was nominated for the position of Attorney Genaral by the President Trump.

I guess it is also only in Nigeria that a nominee for ministerial position will seek to be excused from being questioned or screened by claiming to be a “Senator by association” due to his former engagement with the Senate, as the former minister of the FCT who is renominated to be a minister did and was incredibly granted. Methinks the proper thing was to grill such former ministers on their past performances in office and how they plan to surpass them.

The other funny thing in the ongoing ministerial screening exercise is the decision by the Senate to exclude women from being questioned on the claim of being gender sensitive. And I am wondering why the gender equality advocates have not protested against this. I am expecting them to because this is nothing but pure gender discrimination. Who said that women are not qualified or capable of answering questions like their male counterparts?

Gender equality means equal opportunity and does not by any means mean lowering of standards for women. The Senate position to me degrades and portrays womanhood as being less than men.

Our women are definitely competent, fit and able. They need to be treated equally as men in every ramification.

Men must therefore stop treating women as less than capable and women must resist and not accept such patronising treatment.

The future I see ahead of me is female and the female are set to take it by right and not by being awarded

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