Lawmakers feel sidelined by Nigeria president's political appointments

by Thabile Manala 0

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s political appointments have been met with unsatisfactory reactions.

Lawmakers have brought forward claims that they have been side lined by the president in the process of screening and confirming candidates.

CNBC Africa spoke to Ayo Obe, Partner at Ogunsola Shonibare Legal Practioners, who weighed in on the legalities saying, “They don’t have a point about being side lined, they have a point when they say that some of the appointments made by the president require senate confirmation.”

Obe confirmed that the senate is not out of the picture because the legislation regarding some of the appointments that were made is clear.

According to Obe, even when people are appointed on an acting capacity, that does not take away their ability to properly screen the appointees. “You can’t have a situation where too much is left hanging.”

On the controversial delay of President Buhari’s cabinet, Obe said, “One can perhaps blame the president for not having these things done in advance. When you know a term is going to expire, then you ought to prepare the replacements and get your ducks in a row.”

In unpacking the rationale behind the delayed appointments, Obe said, “There is always a danger when you decide to make the perfect, the enemy of the good.” She further added that the danger rests in making a “fetish” of these appointments because an slip of integrity makes it seem like “the entire house of cards is falling down”.

Obe said the president definitely needs an Attorney General and Chief of Staff to guide the way forward. She further noted that Buhari’s first appointments were for his media spokespeople and yet their presentation seemed so lacking.

When questions are raised, Obe said we have a very conservative, “don’t-question-me” combat  from the media.

“Before the elections, the discussion was that we should expect to lose the second quarter [economically] to post election fallout, violence petitions and so on. The third quarter we would expect that the president would now get his ducks in a row, so that by the fourth quarter, we would take off, “ explained Obe.

According to Obe that second quarter was  “squandered” as there was no political fallout. She acknowledged that however much intra-party manoeuvrings they may be, a decision had to be made.