Drama as Senate screens Amaechi, four others
The Senate yesterday screened the former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi and four others ministerial nominees of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Other ministerial nominees that were screened are: Senator Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa), Professor Cladius Omoleye Daramola (Ondo), Baba Shehuri Mustapha (Borno) and Barrister James Ocholi (SAN), Kogi State.
With yesterday’s screening, 25 ministerial nominees have so far been screened out of which 18 have been confirmed. Amaechi’s screening has been stepped down thrice.
The screening started after they returned from an hour closed-door session where the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators were prevailed upon to shift grounds on Amaechi.
At the end of the closed session, the Chairman, Ethics, Privileges and Public petitions, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo East) moved a motion for the adoption of the report on the petition written against Amaechi.
It was seconded by Senator David Umaru (APC, Niger East) and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki ruled that the report be laid.
Trouble started when the minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio referred to Order 43 pointing out that: “The PDP Senators will not ask the nominee any question because we just received the report from Senator Anyanwu and we don’t have the knowledge of it.”
However, Senate Leader, Ali Ndume referred to Order 53 (9), saying “the report has been laid and the procedure is that a copy be made available, noting that as a former speaker, they could as well ask him to take a bow and go.
But in his ruling, Saraki said Amaechi should be allowed to take questions in line with the modalities adopted for the screening.
Also yesterday, Senator Ibrahim Gobir (APC, Sokoto East) presented two more petitions against Sokoto State ministerial nominee, Aisha Abubakar.
He had last week presented a petition against Aisha, saying a more credible personality should be nominated to represent the state.
However, during his screening, Amaechi said he has not been indicted by any panel in Rivers State.
On how he marketed Buhari as Director General of campaign in last election, he said, “We sold to the public the fact that there was massive corruption in the system. And there was the need to fight that corruption. And the only way to fight that corruption is to put in a new government. And we had to get a signpost candidate.”
According to him, the “signpost candidate is a man who the Nigerian public has seen as an incorruptible president. And that was why the party had to put President Buhari forward. As good as the former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan may have been, I don’t think he was suitable enough for the growth and development of Nigeria.”
From left, Former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, Prof. Claudius Daramola and Mustapha Baba Shehuri, during their screening as ministers by the Senate in Abuja yesterday.