Petitions flood Senate over Ministerial list

Ministers-700x336BARELY 24 hours after the list of President Muham­madu Buhari’s ministerial nominees became public, the battleground has shifted to the Senate.

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


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