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Amidst Protest And Counter, Senate Confirms Amaechi, 17 Other Ministers’ Designate

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By Ganiyu Nasirudeen

The Nigerian Senate Thursday was for some minutes thrown into chaos, as the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senators spurred debate on the petitions submitted on a Ministerial Nominee and former Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, with respect to his confirmation or otherwise.

Ahead of the debate, the Senate President Bukola Saraki, invited Senate Chairman on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions Committee, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (Imo East), to present its report on the petitions submitted by Senator George Sekibo and Integrity Group.

After a motion by the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume that Amaechi’s Nomination as Minister be confirmed, the Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom West) raised a point of order that, in line with the PDP Senators earlier position, not to comment on Amaechi’s screening, the opposition Senators should be allowed to debate the recommendations of the committee before the Nominee’s confirmation.

Senator Olaka Johnson Nwogu (Rivers South-East), objected to Amaechi’s confirmation, hinging his position on moral burden and allegation of corruption against his former State’s Governor as being inconsistent to President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade.

In his contribution, Senator Babajide Omoworare (Osun East), called the attention of the Senate, to the errors in the order of the Senate being quoted and relied upon by the PDP Senators. He said the order the committee and PDP Senators were quoting were not consistent with the amended constitution and the current Standing rule of the Senate.

Senator Biodun Olujinmi (Ekiti South) complained that the PDP Senators have been shot out and confirming Amaechi would constitute a friction in President Buhari’s administration, reputed for war against corruption.

The Senate President, in the end over ruled the PDP Senators’ resent, thereby upheld the motion that Amaechi’s nomination be confirmed. He also pronounced that the Senate’s committee report and recommendations on petition against the Nominee was rejected.

This invited the wrath of the opposition upper legislators, who staged a walk out of the hallow chamber, leaving the 53 ruling APC Senators and Saraki to proceed with the plenary which subsequently considered and confirmed Amaechi’s Nomination, alongside 17 other Nominees.

Saraki’s pronouncement was predicated on the standing rule of the Senate which provides that the upper legislative House shall not treat petitions on any Nominee which is already before a competent court of jurisdiction.

Amaechi has already filed suits before an appeal Court, contesting the petitions of the Integrity Group and report of the State’s Judicial Commission, which indicted him of corrupt practices while in office as the State’s Governor.

Other Ministerial Nominees considered and confirmed were: Brigadier-General Dan Ali, Rtd; James Ocholi (SAN) (Kogi); Anthony Anwuka, Okechukwu Enelamah (Abia); Claudius Omoyele Daramola,(Ondo state); Aisha Abubakar, (Sokoto); Adamu Adamu, (Bauchi); Hajia Bukar Ibrahim; Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, (Bayelsa); Jeffery Onyeama; Kadija Ibrahim, Abubakar Bawa; Muhammadu Bello and Adebayo Shittu (Oyo).

After the confirmation, Saraki thanked his colleagues for their immense contributions during the screening of the 36 Nominees and expressed hope that the confidence and pledges displayed at the hallow chamber would be demonstrated to support Mr. President in his administration desire to move Nigeria forward. He thereafter adjourned the plenary to Tuesday, November 3, 2015.er 3, 2015.

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