Drama As Senate Finally Dumps Ando As Ministerial Nominee, Confirms 5
ABUJA, July 12, (THEWILL) - The Senate today unanimously rejected the nomination of the immediate past Minister of Water Resources, Dr. Obadiah Ando. The man who purportedly came on the bill of Taraba State was said to be a sole nominee of General T. Y. Danjuma, but the three senators from his state stoutly rejected his nomination and openly urged their colleagues to respect their position.
Nevertheless, the senators confirmed five more ministerial nominees, thus bringing the total so far screened and confirmed to 37.
The five confirmed nominees include; Mrs. Sarah Reng Ochekpe (Plateau); Mr. Edem Duke (Cross River); Mr. Neysom Wike (Rivers); Ms Ama Pepple (Rivers) and Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia (Kaduna).
Curiously, Ms. Pepple and Dr. Ando were asked to simply bow and go after taking time to highlight their CVs and their sundry career progression.
But in a dramatic twist, the Senate at the confirmation stage dispatch Ando out of the precincts of the National Assembly complex without handing him back his ministerial portfolio, which he held in the last dispensation. It was simply an overwhelming nay and Ando's dream came to naught.
He had made spirited efforts to convince senators with eloquent rendition of his achievements while he was in office, including the provision of motorized borehole in all the senatorial districts of the country.
Ando's attempt to circumvent the three senators from his state, including Aisha Jummai Alhassan (PDP, Taraba North), Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP, Taraba South) and Abubakar Tutare (PDP, Taraba Central) was his greatest undoing.
Dr. Obadiah Ando at the Senate Screening today.
The trio had told a press conference in Abuja that their action, which is irreversible, was in line with the wishes of their constituents who unanimously rejected the nominee, and asked them to effect his non-clearance by the Senate.
Indications that his nomination was still marred in controversy became more glaring when the Senate President David Mark, last Thursday, announced the withdrawal of Dr Ando as a nominee after screening other nominees on the list.
However, ruling after the confirmation, David Mark explained that not everybody nominated by the President will pass the screening. He added "I hope some lesson has been learnt as regards what happened here today," he said.
This was the third time that the Senate will reject a ministerial nominee. They had rejected the nominations of Prof. Babalola Borishade and Bode Augusto.
Briefing reporters after the plenary, Senate Leader Senator Ndoma Egba, said the fate of Dr Ando was sealed because he did not enjoy the support of the three senators from his state.
"The issue is that if you do not have the support of the senators from your state then you are in trouble. And he did not have that. That was the simple issue.
"The lesson for every nominee is that they should do everything to enlist the support of the senators from their state," he said.
On why he was withdrawn from the ministerial list last Thursday and his sudden enlistment yesterday, the Senate Leader explained saying; "We got information that he will be withdrawn but the correspondence was not done. Which means his name was still on the list."
Ndoma-Egba also said the omission of Dr. Akinwunmi Ayo Adeshina (Ogun) from the list of ministerial nominees was because the nominee did not present himself for security screening, "so the issue is not with us," he added.