The Senate, on Thursday, confirmed the nomination of Barr. Victor Chinemerem Muruako as Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission.
The confirmation of the nominee followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Finance, Chaired by Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Lagos-West).
NK Media reports that Chairman of the Committee and Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, immediately objected to the confirmation of the nominee on the basis that full nominations to the Commission’s board were yet to be forwarded to the Upper Chamber by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Abdullahi also said the Chairman cannot be confirmed alone without the complement of the full membership of the Board.
He, therefore, moved a motion for the confirmation to be stepped down pending when the President constitutes the Commission’s Board and sends the nominations to the upper chamber for screening and confirmation.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his response, however, prevailed on his colleagues for the Senate to confirm the nominee pending when the full list of nominees was sent to the Senate by the President.
“If we don’t confirm, this person would still be acting, so it makes little or no difference really.
“I suggest we do the confirmation and insist that the Chairman does not constitute the board of the Commission, because the Commission is supposed to have the full complement of what the law says.
“So, we do the confirmation and write to the Executive to nominate the remaining people to form the Commission.
“But let me also remark here, that the man has acted for over seven years, and yet this commission, I personally don’t know what they are doing. What are they doing?
“So, the Chairman, when he is confirmed, has a huge responsibility to turn around this Commission for it to perform efficiently and effectively.
“Otherwise, for him to be there seven years acting, and then fours years – that is eleven years – running that Commission, probably he did it as a Sole Administrator over the years, that is simply not acceptable because the Fiscal Responsibility Commission is such an important Commission that we need to have everybody who is supposed to be there, and they have to sit up, especially the man who would lead this,” Lawan said.
Speaking also, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central), said that going ahead with the confirmation of the nominee without the complement of the full membership of the Board was not the intent of President Buhari.
Omo-Agege suggested that the nominee’s confirmation be put on hold.
“I don’t believe it is the intent of Mr. President to nominate a sole administrator. Clearly, that cannot be his intention.
“The Commission is entitled to the full complement of members, and my view without prejudice to the ruling you just gave and the man’s qualifications, would have been for this to be put on hold while we await Mr. President to bring the other members,” the Deputy Senate President said.
According to him, “going ahead to confirm his nomination right now, is validating the sole administrator-ship that he has enjoyed for the past seven years, and it is wrong, Mr. President.”
However, Muruako was later confirmed by the Upper Chamber as Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission.