26th February, 2020
The Senate has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, re-constitute the board of the Federal Character Commission.
According to the upper chamber, any action to the contrary amounts to a breach of the Act establishing the Commission and the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The position of the Senate was made known sequel to the consideration of a motion brought to the floor by the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP–Abia South).
Coming under order 52 of the Senate rules, Abaribe while citing Section 3(1) of the Federal Character Act, said that “the Chairman and members of the Commission shall hold office for a period of five years in the first instance and for a further term of five years on such terms and conditions as may be specified in their letters of appointment.”
The lawmaker lamented that though the tenure of the Federal Character Commission had lapsed since 2018, the body was still been run by an Acting Chairman who has become a sole administrator.
Abaribe observed that “no provisions of the Act or the Constitution stipulates the need for the office of a sole administrator or an Acting Chairman.”
He noted that while the Commission remains a tool for unity, equitable formula distribution and good governance, failure to reconstitute its leadership amounts to a constitutional breach of the Act establishing the Federal Character Commission.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his concluding remarks after the motion was considered, said “The Commission guarantees unity, equity, fairness and justice in terms of employment distribution across the thirty-six states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“So, it is very important that we have the full complement of the Commission in place, and I believe that with this resolution, the executive will expedite action to reconstitute the membership of the Commission.”
Meanwhile, the Senate on Tuesday considered a bill seeking to establish the Federal College of Education, Ibokun, Osun State.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi (APC–Osun East).
In his lead debate, the lawmaker attributed the need for the establishment of the Institution to the failure of students in the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examinations Council (NECO) exams, which according to Fadahunsi, was largely due to the absence of good, qualified and well-trained teachers in Nigeria.
“As a nation, we have experienced the poor performance of our students in WAEC and NECCO examinations year in year out due to the absence of quality teachers in our secondary schools. I must say that the passage of this bill is the perfect answer to this.
“Undoubtedly, the realization that Colleges of Education are tools for National development, have led to an unbridled quest for, and vigorous expansion is Colleges of Education in Nigeria,” Fadahunsi said.
The bill, which scaled second reading, was referred by the Senate President to the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.