As the Ministerial Screening Draws to a Close

So they finally screened Amaechi. After all the noise and postponement and grand posturing like the National Assembly Complex would collapse if he stepped in, he finally got screened. Whew! Now can we move on?


For those who chose to get excited by Amaechi’s lecture on corruption to the Senate, and the silence of PDP members during the screening on Twitter, kudos


But my issue here is the lackadaisical manner successive Senates, this one inclusive, have approached screening ministerial nominees. Senate President Bukola Saraki promised that it would no more be ‘business as usual’, implying that the PDP mentality of ‘Bow and go’ would be a thing of the past. But from what the past week has revealed, old habits die hard.


What we will probably be concluding today has not been a screening exercise, but a series of interview. They are different things. Screening implies a more precise from of interview to ensure a person fits a certain portfolio. But what portfolio will any of the persons fill? We are busy speculating whether Fashola will be Minister of Works or the FCT. If a precise portfolio had been attached to a nominee, it would guide the screening, ensuring precise questions would be asked, relating to what that person could offer. Not like today when Amaechi was asked to recount what he experienced as Rivers State Governor and Director-General of the Buhari/Osinabjo campaign team. If we need a lesson in history, the records are there for all to see.


It is my hope that a future screening, will involve a proactive executive and a serious parliament, and hopefully we’ll achieve what the Americans did Senator John Kerry,  current US Secretary of State, who was screened for two days straight, despite being a former Senator and Chairman of a committee.


Akintunde Agunbiade

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