A bill to limit the power of the President to fire a minister and a state governor to fire a commissioner failed at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
The sponsor, Mr. Bamidele Faporusi, sought an amendment to the 1999 Constitution to “provide for the consent of the Senate/State House of Assembly for the removal of a Minister of Government of the Federation/Commissioner of the Government of a state.”
He noted that there was “a lacuna” in Sections 147 and 192 of the constitution, “which is silent on the exit procedure for ministers and commissioners.”
Faporusi argued that while the constitution was explicit on how to appoint a minister or commissioner, it left their exit at the discretion of the President or a governor of a state.
He claimed that a minister was appointed to work with the President, “not to work for him.”
“Ministers are to work with the President for the people and not for the President.
“A commissioner works for the people, not for the governor,” he added.
In his opinion, to sack them requires the consent of the people through their representatives in the parliament.
However, members opposed the bill on the grounds that the legislature would be interfering with the functions of the Executive by passing it.
Mrs. Binta Maigari, for instance, said the bill would make running government “very cumbersome.”
She stated that if a minister or commissioner was found to be incompetent while holding a very sensitive portfolio, the principal could fire the official immediately.
She asked, “Are we saying where a case of fraud is established, the minister or commissioner should continue in office?”
Mr. Pat Asadu also told the House that it was the prerogative of the President or a governor to pick a team of officials who would execute “his mission and vision for the people.”
According to Asadu, whenever a member of the team is found wanting, a replacement should be sought by the principal without much protocols.
More speakers kicked against the bill, a development which forced Faporusi to step it down.
However, a separate bill to amend the Nigerian Export-Import Bank Establishment Act passed second reading on Wednesday.
The Chairman, House Committee on Banking/Currency, Mr. Chukwudi Onyereri, who sponsored the bill, explained that it proposed three amendments to the principal Act.
The first amendment is to appoint a legal practitioner of 10 year’s experience to serve as the Secretary to the Board of NEXIM Bank.
The second proposal requires the bank to prepare and submit its quarterly reports to the National Assembly for scrutiny.