Lawmakers, yesterday, blocked a petition against the nomination of former Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, when he appeared for screening.
El-Rufai, who was third on the list of nominees to be screened, addressed the upper legislative chamber on his political and educational profile and struggle for a democratic society.
The former governor, who spoke with certainty that he was coming to oversee the power sector, said President Bola Tinubu invited him to clean the Augean stable in the industry.
As soon as the floor was thrown open, Sunday Karimi (Kogi West) drew the attention of his colleagues and the nominee to a petition, which he said would be submitted, in line with parliamentary rules.
Karimi said: “Your performance in any office you served has been outstanding. Your record is there. In the FCT, as a minister, your record is there, and as a two-term governor of Kaduna State. I have a very strong petition against you that borders on security and unity of the nation, and I think that petition has to be considered alongside this screening.”
After raising the envelope, he submitted it to Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin, who was presiding.
Jibrin, who felt uneasy with the submission of the Kogi lawmaker, faulted the way the petition was submitted.
Earlier, the senator representing Kaduna North on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Khalid Ibrahim Mustapha, lauded El-Rufai for leadership qualities. He urged senators to allow the nominee to take a bow and go.
“He appeared before this hallowed chamber in 2003 and he was screened and cleared. And precisely, he is a person that is well known nationally and internationally. He has the capacity to continue to be a minister,” he said.
Sani Musa (APC, Niger) said: “Everybody here can attest to the credibility of the nominee when it comes to performance of every assignment he has undertaken in parts of this country. He is not different from every other person that has appeared before now and taken a bow.
“There are two other governors that have appeared before us for screening and there is a convention in the chamber. I want to propose that Nasir El-Rufai take a bow and go.”
A rowdy session ensued.
Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, however, took over, saying: “I have to inform all of you that I have received similar petitions from people against other nominees, but this is not where we are to deal with petitions. Our job here is to screen. And, of course, we can refer petitions to where petitions will be dealt with.
“They are nominees of Mr. President. If it is something where there is a formal petition before the Senate, we will look at it formally. But there are certain petitions we have to refer to the Presidency or security agencies to look at, and that has nothing to do with us. By the time we go into confirmation, we will be so advised. So, I want my brother to take a bow and go, and don’t bother to explain the petition.”
Meanwhile, Olawale Edun, the Special Adviser to Tinubu on Monetary Policies, reeled out what he described as solutions to Nigeria’s economic woes.
Responding to a question by Akpabio and other senators on how he would block revenue leakages, Edun said: “There is a need for more resources for the finance of federal, state and local governments. First, there was a commitment to technology. When I was commissioner at the sub-national level in Lagos State, technology was used to boost revenue generation, total computerisation of government and reliance on the private sector to drive the economy and efficient use of the financial market.
“I assure you that there will be continued improvement in the Federal Government’s fiscal situation. The subsidy removal and forex reforms have put the economy in a better position to ensure that the poorest, weakest are protected in the economy. What remains is for us to do what we can to sustain this process.”