Hi­lar­i­ous mo­ments of Sen­ate’s min­is­te­rial screen­ing

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - By Ismail Mu­dashir

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.

Ngige ve­hi­cle

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

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