by Reuben Daba
It was a sobering day on Tuesday at the Senate for Nigeria’s minister of information, Labaran Maku.
Senate President David Mark verbally lashed the minister for some comments he made about Senate resolutions being non-binding, which riled senators. Mark called Maku a public officer who talks carelessly without first thinking of the implications of such utterances.
The Senate president also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to call his minister to order, threatening that the Senate would not hesitate to call for the sacking of any minister that disparages the National Assembly.
“I think the minister of information is a careless talker. He talks very carelessly. He did not think properly. He is not an educator and we need to educate him. I hope the president cautions him and calls him to order.
“And I think next time he does that, we will take a resolution here that any minister who talks carelessly be removed because there was really no need for that.”
Mark blamed the levity in which Maku was screened by the senate during his confirmation hearing as a factor.
“I think this is a hard lesson for Senators who ask ministers to take a bow and go,” he said.
The minister was later summoned by the Senate to clarify his statements on National Assembly resolutions. He told the Committee that his statement was misinterpreted, as he never had the intention to disrespect the National Assembly.
Maku said: “I have no reason to denigrate the authority of the highest legislative body. The Senate, being the highest legislative body, has played very constructive role in the stabilisation of Nigeria’s democracy.
“I have no reason personally or individually to disparage the Senate. If that comment has been misinterpreted to mean that the Federal Government does not respect resolutions of the Senate, I tender my apology.”