The House of Representatives on Thursday passed for second reading a bill proposing that nomination for appointment of ministers should not be later than 30 days from when the president takes oath of office.
The bill also seeks to provide that nomination of commissioners shall be made not later than 30 days from the date a governor is sworn in.
Presenting the bill, Solomon Adaelu (PDP-Abia), said that the need to ensure improved efficiency in governance prompted the amendment bill which sought to alter sections 147 and 192.
According him, sections 147 and 192 of the Constitution are not explicit as to when the president or governors are to make the nominations for appointment of ministers and commissioners.
“Consequently, it is feasible and practically necessary to impose a constitutional time limit for a president to present nominated ministers and their portfolios to the Senate.
“Preferably, 30 days’ time limit after swearing in will be ideal as it provides sufficient time for the president to settle down into governance and carry out final vetting of his nominations.
“And also ensure that the running of governance is not necessarily delayed or held up by the absence of ministers to run the various government departments,’’ Mr. Adaelu said.
He emphasised that experience from other developed countries show that the president already had clear nomination list prior to swearing-in.
“And this is forwarded to the parliament within a short time of inauguration.
“This practice should be constitutionally mandated in Nigeria to improve the efficiency of governance upon a change in government.
“The experience of 2015 whereby it took almost four months after swearing in for the president to forward nominated names to the legislature resulted in a serious setback for governance.
“This adversely affected the serious handling of pressing national issues in the country; this must be prevented by constitutionally imposing time limit,’’ Mr. Adaelu said.
He said that attaching portfolios would facilitate effective screening and deliberation by the legislature on the competence of the nominated person for the particular role he would play in government.
“This will greatly reduce the fixing of round pegs in square holes which is the bane of governance in Nigeria.
“The discretion of the president to assign people to whatever department he deems fit after screening by the legislature is unhealthy as the legislature will not be able to adequately assess his suitability for that role,” Mr. Adaelu said.
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, referred the bill to special ad hoc Committee on Constitution Review.