An Abuja-based lawyer, Mrs. Esther Uzoma, has urged all arms of government to adhere to their roles and respect their boundaries in discharging their responsibilities as provided in the Constitution, cautioning that the executive should not assume the position of “the almighty” especially in the case of Mr. Ibrahim Magu whom the Senate has twice rejected to man the anti-graft agency, EFCC but which the executive has stayed him put.
She made the call at the backdrop of latest face-off between the executive and legislature over Mr. Ibrahim Magu’s continuation as Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Uzoma, who is the National Coordinator, Proactive Gender Initiatives, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), told newsmen in Abuja that the Constitution was supreme and should be relied on all the time.
The Senate had on July 4 moved against the Presidency over the retention of Magu as acting chairman of the EFCC in spite of the rejection of his nomination, two times, during screening.
Magu’s issue, in addition to a statement allegedly made by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on “no-go areas” for the legislature, led to senate’s suspension of all confirmation requests from the executive until the matters were addressed.
Uzoma said the three arms of government were independent and had their functions and limits clearly specified in the 1999 Constitution (as Amended). According to her, in critical appointments, it is the duty of the executive to recommend or nominate while the legislature has the responsibility to screen the nominations for approval.
“Now the legislature screened Magu, the recommended person by the executive and rejected him twice based on security reports forwarded by the executive.
“So, in this case, there are reports from the executive arm indicting the person they recommended themselves; so if you ask me, it is actually a problem of the executive quarrelling with itself.
“They are the ones who brought this person for screening and they are also the ones who filed the report on Magu, indicting him, and made the legislature to find him unworthy for the job.
“I would therefore submit that in the spirit of our constitution having due regards to balance of power, that the views of the legislature should be respected.’’ Uzoma cautioned that the executive should not assume the position of “the almighty, the all-powerful and the omniscience” by forcing its decision on everyone.
She said the executive should play its part while the legislature did its own “and when issues came to question, the judiciary will also do its part”.
According to her, it will augur well with Nigeria’s democracy if they all respected the boundaries of the various arms of government as provided by the Constitution.