The Presidency is not opposed to the Senate setting conditions for the screening of ministerial nominees, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang said on Friday.
Enang told reporters in Abuja on Friday that the Senate is empowered by the constitution to set conditions for the screening of prospective ministers.
The Senate has set October 13, 14 and 15 for the screening of the 21 ministerial nominees submitted to it by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Enang, who was responding to questions on the Senate’s request for the nominees to submit certified true copies of their assets declaration, said there is nothing wrong with the request.
He said: “The Senate is the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and it is free to set its criteria for the screening of the nominees appearing before it.
“Our job is to make sure that we work with the respective senators and the nominees to make sure that the senators are satisfied and agree with the nomination.
“We will not dispute with the Senate what they want because it absolutely lies in the heart and mind of the respective and distinguished senators to determine what questions to ask.
“The senators are free to ask questions just like the nominees are equally free to answer them.
“The senators are within their rights to request for what they want.”
Responding to another question on the gains of the recent meeting between the executive and the leadership of the National Assembly, Enang said it has cemented the relationship between the two arms of government.
“I am sure you can begin to feel the political temperature that peace has descended on the minds and psyche of Nigerians and that the relationship between the executive and the legislature which was thought to be on heat, has been fully, perfectly, effectively cemented and the public is now aware.
“I want to say that the conjectures as they were, of a rift between the executive and the legislature were actually and definitely, I am speaking honestly, a conjecture. There wasn’t any rift.
“The meeting between the President and the National Assembly leadership as it were, as stated by the Senate President, really proved that there was no rift.
“The Senate President said those small talks were taken by the public to mean that there was a crisis and division and I think that has laid it to rest.
“The legislature has been conferred with certain powers. Hence President Buhari constantly says that he would respect the functions of each arms of government and the leadership and membership of each arm of government to do their jobs.
“It is impossible, impracticable for any administration, knowing the powers of the other over its own, to want to deprive her of it.”