Drama as Sen­ate screens Amaechi, four oth­ers

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Ismail Mu­dashir

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.

Pic Macjohn Akande

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