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Crisis Looms Between Presidency, Senate

…Over appointment of D-G without recourse to Senate for screening, confirmation

ABUJA— STRONG indications emerged, yesterday, that crisis looms between the Presidency and the Senate over Presidency’s appointment of a new Director-General for the National Lottery Commission, Adolphus Ekpe, without sending the name to the Senate for screening and subsequent confirmation.

Speaking, yesterday, on the floor of the Senate during plenary, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), who relied on Order 43, drew the attention of the senators to what he described as an unfortunate and very ugly scenario that was playing out.

He cited Section 8 (1) of the National Lottery Commission Act, which stipulates that there shall be for the commission a Director-General who shall be appointed by the President subject to the constitution and confirmation of the Senate.

SENATE CHAMBER
Melaye, who wondered why the Presidency was being selective in choosing what provision of the law to comply with, however, said it was inappropriate, adding the new Director General has started signing document.

He said: “Sad to note that a new Director-General of National Lottery Commission has been appointed, assumed office and signing documents. This country is not a banana republic and the executive cannot choose which law to obey.”

Speaking on the matter, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, who called for a thorough investigation of the matter, said it was “a very weighty one which borders on the constitution and the rule of law.”

According to him, if Melaye’s claims are confirmed to be authentic, the director-general should stop the “nonesense and immediately vacate the seat.”

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It will be recalled that the Senate and the Presidency have been trapped in similar constitutional conflict over the appointment of a substantive Chairman for Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, with arguments on whether or not Magu’s appointment requires Senate’s confirmation.

By Henry Umoru

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