Hilarious moments of Senate’s ministerial screening
The confirmation hearing of the 20 out of the 36 ministerial nominees submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate has come and gone but the funny parts of it would continue to radiate on the political landscape of the country for long.
Most of those screened “came, saw and conquered” by exhibiting their prowess in their respective fields of human endeavour on the floor of the Red Chamber while responding to questions from the legislators.
Eighteen of the nominees that so far passed through the ‘grilling’ of the senators were given pass marks penultimate Wednesday when the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, hit the gavel in their favour after voice votes by the senators.
Our correspondent reports that aside from the intrigues surrounding the screening of former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, in the Red Chamber, the drama surrounding those that have been screened remains a topic of discussion. Nominee vs. Amala joint It was around 9.am on Tuesday, 13 October that a nominee was sighted in company of two aides around the new Senate wing of the National Assembly where offices of the senators are situated.
Funny enough, the nominee was not there to see any of the senators who incidentally are mostly not around at that time, rather, he was on his way to a popular Amala (local delicacy) joint at Julius Berger yard outside the National Assembly complex.
But while approaching the eatery, popularly known as Mama Ife joint, where low level N/Assembly staff eat, security men recognised the nominee and advised him not to patronise the place.
A plate of Amala goes for N200 unlike at the VIP restaurant, where a plate cost N800 and above.
His attempt to join queue at the local ‘buka’ became topic of discussion among security men. Our correspondent saw the man when he was returning to the National Assembly complex with a perplexed look, apparently in protest against the action of the security men who had somehow changed his status even before he was screened.
Lai Mohammed’s ‘take a bow and go’ and PDP senators
The appearance of the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed was filled with humour.
Mohammed, whose arrival was heralded with the chanting of ‘take a bow and go’ by the APC senators spent less than 10 minutes on the floor but not without fun and murmurings.
Mohammed narrowly escaped the axe of PDP senators, who either by accident or by design, wanted to obstruct his clearance. Even after the voice vote, that of ‘nays’ among the senators was more thunderous but the Senate President, Bukola Saraki hit the gavel in favour of the ‘aye’ senators.
Amina thrills senators with Queens English
The Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Amina Ibrahim Mohammed, thrilled the senators with her fluent Queen’s English.
Amina, the nominee from Gombe State was invited to the floor by 3.39pm on Tuesday, and she spoke for less than 10 minutes before the Senate President, Bukola Saraki asked her to take a bow and go.
Our correspondent observed that at first, the senators were somehow dumbfounded while listening to Amina who was rather speaking fast, but after about three minutes, they started discussing in hush tones, a situation that made the Chief Whip, Professor Olusola Adeyeye, to shout “Order”, a grand rule calling the attention of the senators to listen.
Laughter over statement on money
Another nominee whose appearance was not without humour was the former
Fashola’s Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN).
General laughter greeted his statement that money always raised suspicion even among brothers. Before then he had told the senators that throughout his eight years as governor in Lagos State, he never signed a cheque.
“Money always raises suspicion even among brothers and nobody has alleged that I’m corrupt,” he said and the senators’ laughter rent the atmosphere.
Former governor of Anambra State, Senator Chris Ngige evoked the laughter of senators when he described the APC as a winning vehicle.
“I’m happy that my people are here. I was one of those that assembled to build the PDP vehicle in 1998 and today I thank God that I am also among those that assembled in 2013 for the APC vehicle. Our vehicle is always winning,” he said, a statement that was followed by general laughter in the chamber.
Mama Taraba speaks of her 12 grandchildren
When the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Taraba State, Senator Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, was asked by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, whether she has anything she would want to say that was not captured in her CV, she answered in the affirmative.
“Yes, I have and it was deliberate that I didn’t include it in my CV that I’m a grandmother. I did that because I don’t want people to be seeing me as an old woman. I have 12 grandchildren,” she said.
Soon after she made her point, like the nominees before her, thunderous laughter rented the air at the chamber and as tradition demands, the Senate president told her to take a bow and go.
Dalong, senators and EFCC, CCB brouhaha
Another funny moment was when Barrister Solomon Dalong, a nominee from Plateau State was talking on the activities of the EFCC, ICPC and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
“Today, the EFCC will invite you for an offence, tomorrow ICPC will invite you for the same offence and another day, the CCB will do same. I think the agencies should be merged,” he said.
Dalong’s statement changed the mood of the senators as many of them, including the Senate president have pending cases with some of the agencies.
‘I no want die’, says Shittu Adebayo
Responding to a question on Boko Haram, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, a nominee from Oyo State shocked the floor when he said he was not ready to die.
Shittu, who was grilled for over an hour said he would not want to go deep in discussing the Boko Haram issue.
“I don’t want to comment more, because I still have my family to take care of and I still want to be alive,” he said and general laughter trailed his statement.
Khadija Bukar Ibrahim, the ‘ever loving wife’
The chanting of ‘our wife‘ dominated the floor when Saraki introduced Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim as the nominee from Yobe State.
Khadija, the wife of Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim (APC,Yobe East) is a serving member of the House of Representatives. She has been in the Green Chamber since 2007 and her husband, who was three times governor of Yobe State has also been at the Upper Chamber since 2007.
Her ‘screening’ was filled with laughter and the hilarious moment was climaxed when Saraki gave her husband the opportunity to ask her a question.
In his question, Ibrahim asked his wife, “My ever loving wife, what will be your reaction if I ask you to take a bow and go?”
Saraki then asked the senators whether she should be allowed to take a bow and go and the senators answered in affirmative.
Senate President Bukola Saraki