Instead of subjecting ministerial nominees to searching questions to confirm their suitability for high office, Nigerian senators turned the first session of the exercise today into a very predictable farce.
Very few senators asked questions about what was of interest to Nigerian people, with the possible exceptions of some questions to Kayode Fayemi, the former governor of Ekiti State, who was asked about the debt burden he left his successor.
Most of today’s screening session was turned into obsequies from the senators, backslapping sycophancy from the nominees and soft balls thrown at them from senators in a mockery of their role of scrutinising the executive. There were no follow-up questions to the glib answers the nominees gave.
The award for worst question must be the one put to Ogbonnaya Onu by one senator, who asked why there were no “youths” among the nominees.
This question is daft on two levels.
Firstly, President Muhammadu Buhari nominated the ministers and not Onu. So the question to Onu was misplaced.
Secondly, to qualify to be a minister the person must be at least 30. This means that “youths” by the proper definition of the term should not be in the cabinet.
But in Nigeria, 50 year olds are sometimes called “youths”.
While it is genuine criticism to knock the inclusion of the likes of 68 year old Audu Ogbeh, who was a minister over 30 years ago, in the ministerial list, asking for “youths” in the cabinet is a genuinely dumb idea.