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Drama As Ministerial Nominee Runs into Trouble Over Unpleasant Comments, Remarks

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

One out of the six ministerial nominees screened on Tuesday by the Senate, Pastor Usani Usani Uguru from Cross Rivers State ran into trouble waters during the session over unpleasant remarks and alleged tax clearance certificate forgery.

Uguru who was the last to be screened after other nominees like  Hon Bawa Bwari (Niger), Geoffrey Onyeama (Enugu) Zainab Ahmed ( Kaduna) and Mansur Mohamned Dan Ali ( Zamfara) , had had smooth screening sessions before the senate, ran into problem  with a ‘God for bid’ response to a PDP senator’s remarks on his introductory submission.

The nominee had while making his opening remarks before the senate, said in the build up to the 2015 general elections, that he along  with Senators Nazif Sulaiman,  Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso etc, traversed the length and breadth of the country, a submission jokingly  interjected by one  of the PDP senators who said ” on PDP platform, to which the nominee reacted to, angrily by saying “God for bid”.

Angered by his statement, the PDP senators immediately put machineries in motion to stop his screening through series of point of orders upon which different issues and allegations were raised against him.

First to throw spanner into the works of the nominee, was the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, who through order 14(A) drew the attention of the senate to the “God for bid ” response  the nominee gave to a remark jokingly made by a PDP senator to his introductory submission, by demanding for an apology from him.

Akpabio in his  argument said: ” Mr Senate President, myself and other PDP senators unpleasantly heard the nominee before us saying God forbid to a joking remarks made by one of us that the journeys he said he made across the country with some senators here was on  PDP platform .

“This is very nauseating to us because aside other benefits he got under PDP from his state, Cross Rivers within the last 16 years, he was a member of the Board of Nigeria Copyright Commission between 2002 and 2004 and yet standing here before us , saying God forbid to PDP”.

However the Senate President, Bukola Saraki quickly came to his rescue by paving the way for him to quickly apologize, which he promptly did but not to the satisfaction of the PDP senators who still raised other issues bordering on alleged non declaration of assets, tax clearance certificate forgery and questionable pastoral title.

While Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe ( PDP Abia South), through order 120, took up the nominee over alleged non declaration of assets , Mao Ohuhabunwa ( PDP Abia North ) through order 14( A) took him up over alleged tax clearance certificate forgery and questionable pastoral title but were  both ruled out of order by the Senate President, which paved way for him to be questioned by the APC senators and later allowed to take a bow and go.

Earlier during the screening, the nominee from Osun State and Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Isaac Adewole, said 40,000 women and 800,000 children die yearly in Nigeria during pregnancy or childbirth but promised to turn things around for better if confirmed as Minister by the Senate and assigned the Health portfolio , by President Muhamnadu Buhari.

He said: If confirmed as a minister, I will serve with patriotism and commitment. We must make conscious decision to tackle the multifarious problems in the health sector, particularly women and infant mortality in the country.

“About 40,000 women die during pregnancy or childbirth every year. Cancer is a disease of the old age. Nigeria must prepare for potential epidemic in Nigeria. We should create platforms to educate women to say no to sex.

“The health care system is seriously underfunded.We have to recognize public health education in cancer in the country. We have to educate the citizenry on the preventive measures and curative measures too.

“40-50% of abortions carried out is because of deformed pregnancies. The life of the Nigerian girl is very important; they need proper education on unregulated pregnancies.

“We have capable hands in the health system to tackle the challenges in the sector; we need to empower them through adequate training and retraining. We should also update our medical facilities to enable the medical workers function effectively. Upgraded medical facilities will also stop Nigerians rushing outside the country to seek medical help.

Another nominee, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari from Niger State, said if assigned the FCT portfolio as a Minister, that he would restore the already distorted Abuja Master Plan in the development of the capital city.

His words: “As a Town Planner, I have seen that the Abuja master plan has been distorted. The situation is getting out of hands because of the uncontrollable influx of people from different parts of the country into the FCT.

With the screening of the six nominees on Tuesday, the senate had so far screened a total of 31 out of the 36 nominees sent to it by President Buhari with 18 of them already confirmed .

The remaining five nominees will be screened on Wednesday by the senate with possible confirmation along with  13 others awaiting confirmation.


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