First to receive a petition against his nomination was former Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi.
The petition against him was submitted by Senator Thompson Sekibo on behalf of one of his constituents. Citing Order 41 of the Senate Standing rule, Sekibo told the Senate that his constituents asked him to submit a petition against the nomination of Amaechi.
He was shouted down before he could finish his presentation. For a while, loud shouts of No! No!! No!!! emerged from the section of the chamber occupied by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators.
The APC Senators were immediately countered by their Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senators, who shouted Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!. The comic situation became so rowdy, which prompted the Senate president’s intervention. Saraki hit his gavel hard in order to restore calm in the chamber.
When Sekibo was recognised again to conclude his submissions, he told his colleagues that the petition deserved prompt attention by the Senate because of the issues raised by the petitioner.
“There is the group that is called the Integrity Group and they believe in transparency, fighting against corruption, they believe in good governance and effective utilisation of every fund that is allocated to any state government.
“They are based in Port Harcourt. They went into research and discovered that over N70billion was transferred from hard currency account to places outside the country and a petition on this note was written to Mr. President.
“I believe the President has not read it. If he has read it, he may not hurriedly nominate Rotimi Amaechi to be a minister.”
The Senate president asked Sekibo to lay the petition on the table, which was referred to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for further consideration.
Meanwhile, the Oyo State ministerial nominee, Adebayo Shittu has described opposition from some of his party men and kinsmen in the state as overwhelming and inconsequential.
Reacting to an advertorial against his nomination, Shittu, a two-time commissioner in the state and former member of the old Oyo State House of Assembly described the position of the party chieftains as misleading and against the interest of the larger majority of the residents of the state.
The ministerial nominee, who was a governorship aspirant of the APC in the last general elections in the state maintained that all what the party officials made reference to in the open letter were intra-party squabbles, some of which Mr. President himself, Muhammadu Buhari intervened to get them resolved. He described his nomination as one of the best things that could happen to Oyo State.
Also, in Kwara, socio-cultural organisation in the state, Orisun lgbomina, expressed appreciation to Buhari over the nomination of Alhaji Lai Mohammed as a minister. President of the organisation, Mr. Gbenga Awoyale expressed the appreciation in a statement he issued in llorin. He said Mohammed’s nomination “was a right step in the right direction.”
The group described Mohammed as a man of honour and integrity who believes in a united Kwara. It urged the National Assembly to disregard any petition from individuals or groups against his nomination.
From Akwa Ibom, leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State has debunked an allegation that the ministerial nominee from the state, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, was recommended by Akwa Ibom State Government.
In a swift reaction, the state government had insisted that Udoma’s appointment was in the spirit ofDakkada, which is a call for every Akwa Ibom person to rise up and excel beyond political, ethnic, gender or religious boundaries.
Speaking with Daily Sun in Uyo yesterday, the state Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Ita Awak said the party had since congratulated Senator Udoma on his appointment as one of the most distinguished citizens of Akwa Ibom, who had risen to the height of his chosen career and whose appointment would help to make impact in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and by extension, Akwa Ibom State.
But the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, told our correspondent that irrespective of who recommended Udoma, the most important thing was that an Akwa Ibom person had been found worthy and capable of delivering the goods, hence, his appointment into President Buhari’s cabinet.
In a related development, Daily Sun checks indicated that the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions is keeping tight onto petitions on ministerial nominees.
Attempts to get the committee to disclose the actual number of petitions yielded no result .
Meanwhile, Amaechi’s media office has reacted to corruption allegations against him.
The office said allegation of funds diversion “is unfortunate and leaves much to be desired. The mischief is all the more evident as the funds referred to are funds from the Rivers State Reserve Fund, which were duly approved by the Rivers State House of Assembly and whose expenditure were duly captured and accounted for.
“Ordinarily we might not have responded to the mischief of Mr. Wike knowing that having failed with his various desperate tactics to stop the nomination of the Amaechi as a minister, he has embarked on this last ditch effort, which is his trump card in the hope that it will diminish the former governor’s towering stature as a statesman and honest Nigerian.” -The Sun