by Ranti Joseph
Senate President David Mark has defended last Wednesday’s confirmation of Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro as a minister amidst protest from APC lawmakers.
According to the Senate president, due process was followed during Obanikoro’s confirmation and the reasons put forward by those against his confirmation were mere accusations.
David Mark gave this explanation in a statement released by his media aide Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday March 16.
In his response after the clearance, Mark said on Monday that he followed the rules of the Senate and will not bend them to please Nigerians no matter how “vociferous or violent” their complaints may be.
“The President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, will not trample on the rules to satisfy the yearnings of any interest, no matter how vociferous and violent,” he said.
He also said the Senate treated Obanikoro as an accused who remained innocent without a proof of guilt, criticisms from Nigerians over the Senate process were needless and misplaced.
“We will like to state without any form of ambiguity that the President of the Senate complied with all the legislative practices and procedures in the confirmation of all the ministerial nominees that appeared before the Senate. It is important to state that the Senate found herself in a situation where two of its traditions were in conflict.”
“There exists a tradition of permitting nominees that had served as Senators or member of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic to take a bow and go without being questioned. The Senate also has a tradition of stopping any nominee that fails to secure at least two of the three Senators.”
“Where the Senate was faced with this conflict, the option available to the President of the Senate, as the presiding officer was to put the question to the floor and rule applicably. The President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, did just that.”
“He put the question through voice vote, and ayes won resoundingly and he so ruled. On the issue of courts, Rules 53 (5) of the Senate Standing Rules did state; ‘if in the opinion of the President of the Senate, the matter will be subjudice.”
“Senator Mark made it clear that he has not been served any court order neither has he received any injunction restraining him from processing the confirmation of the ministerial nominees. Besides, it is a known fact that an accused is presumed innocent until proven otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction. The processes and decisions reached on the screening and confirmation of the ministerial nominees were in line with the rules guiding the activities of the Senate,” he added.