‘Screening People On The Floors Of The Hallowed Chamber Is Wrong’ – Ugokwe
Former Nigeria Ambassador to Austria Jerry Ugokwe has said that the idea of screening people on the floors of the Hallowed Chambers is wrong.
Amb Ugokwe who appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily stressed that people should be screened in committees.
“What should happen is that these people should go to a committee room and take enough time; and if you have those portfolios attached to them and if they are in a committee room and if they are asked proper questions, grilled properly, so you can be sure who would be where,”Ugokwe said.
The two-time member of the House of Representatives added “For anybody to become a minister, before that person comes to the National Assembly for screening, I do think that the president should be able to attach a portfolio to that person so that questions should be asked directly.”
He noted that most of the questions the ministers were asked during the screening had nothing to do with the ministries they have been assigned to man.
“I followed through questioning of the screening. You find out that many of those who were asked all kinds of questions, the ministries they are put in had nothing to do with those questions. I don’t see why, because this is in the interest of our nation.
“These people were not questioned on what ministries they want so you don’t know what they have until they begin, particularly for those who are coming for the first time.”
The former minister highlighted that his concern is to make sure wherever those appointed are, they give in their best for Nigerians.
On the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs
Regarding the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Ugokwe said the ministry which is one among the five newly added ministries by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, is a good idea.
“The woman in that ministry has been involved in Humanitarian affairs; she came from the UN agency which was the commission that was dealing with Humanitarian issues, so I believe that she is in a position to do well,” Ugokwe said.
The former Ambassador noted that the ministry should focus on disasters and how to prevent them before they erupt.
“When I was in the National assembly, I was the House committee chairman on National Emergency and Disaster Management, so I know what it means that we should have such a ministry that would be able to deal with disasters and then, first of all issues of disaster or rather what the ministry should focus on is how to plan, to make sure disasters don’t take place in the first place.”
Ugokwe further stated that if steps are taken to prevent disasters from happening, then it becomes easier to mitigate their effects even when they happen.
He said, “The ministry will coordinate with National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) at the Federal level and then properly coordinate with those agencies at the state level. And once you have this, teach them the idea of preventing emergencies. Those are the key issues. Once you can prevent emergencies or minimize them, then you are good to go.”
The former Minister believes that this is President Muhammadu Buhari’s chance to make an impression and advised the President to take decisive actions.
“Anybody who is not keying into your policy, who is not performing, remove the person. At this point he (Buhari) has the opportunity to change as many things as he can and the important thing is that by the time he leaves office in 2023, we want to see Nigeria a better country.”