The Senate, on Wednesday, began a probe into an alleged infraction in the appointment of Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila as Director General of the Nigeria Lottery Regulation Commission.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, in April, appointed Gbajabiamila as Director General of the NLRC, alongside 22 other chief executives of Federal Government agencies.
But at the plenary on Wednesday, Senator Dino Melaye raised a point of order accusing the President of appointing the head of the commission without seeking Senate’s confirmation.
He alleged that the appointee had begun to operate in the office without the approval of the legislature.
Melaye recalled that when Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015, the ruling All Progressives Congress and the President promised Nigerians “absolute respect for the rule of law and to combat the monster called corruption.”
He, however, alleged that the appointment of the director general had breached Section 8(1) of the National Lottery Act 2015.
Melaye said, “It is sad to note this morning that a new Director General of the National Lottery Commission has not only been appointed by Mr. President, he has resumed office and has started signing documents and carrying out the functions of the Director General of the National Lottery Commission without referral or confirmation of the Nigerian Senate.
“This country is not a Banana Republic and the executive arm of government cannot choose which law to obey and the one not to obey.
“As I speak to you this morning, we have before this chamber confirmation of the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission; we have a request from Mr. President for the confirmation of the board of Central Bank of Nigeria; we have from the President a request for the confirmation of the Niger Delta Development Commission (board members); we have a request from the President for the confirmation of the board of Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation and some others.
“Why will there be selective respect for the rule of law? On rule of law, there must be a totalitarian approach. The truth has no volume. We are here working and speaking the truth; the same truth was spoken by President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives two days ago during the launching from a book, but the response we got to an articulated approach to fighting corruption…”
At that point, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the plenary, interjected and asked Melaye to stick to main issue.
Melaye continued, “At the end of the day, the rule of law be respected. It is safer to be loyal to the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria than to be afraid of the rod of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission or the executive.
“The truth is the truth and this chamber must stand on the truth; and the rule of law must be respected; and we must communicate this misbehavior and rascality to those concerned.”
Saraki, in his ruling, described the issues raised by Melaye as weighty. He asked that the Senate conduct preliminary investigations to ascertain if it was true that the appointee had resumed duty without legislature’s confirmation of his appointment.