APC Senators Fail To Stall Ministerial Screening
As Senate screens 6 nominees In what could be seen as a strict adherence to their party's directive to block the successful screening of ministerial nominees in the Senate, Senators of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, on Wednesday, variously mounted early blockage of screening of ministerial nominees in compliance with their party directives.
They raised several points of order and premised their objection on the fact that the exercise should be put on hold to enable senators peruse all the necessary particulars of the nominees and also be allowed reasonable time to study them before knowing what to do on the matter.
They were however rebuffed by the President of the Senate, David Mark, who also cautioned that no amount of delay tactics would stop the screening of the nominees.
He insisted that going ahead with the exercise could not in any way, jeopardise their (APC senators) efforts to assess the nominees through their particulars.
Shortly after the issue was mentioned for treatment by the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba (PDP, Cross River), Senator Babafemi Ojudu (APC, Ekiti), raised a point of order, calling for deferment of the scheduled screening.
He pointed out that his call was necessitated by petitions which he said the Senate had been inundated with against the nominees, mostly from the people of their states and where they had worked in the past.
Ojudu pleaded for two days extension of the exercise to enable them study the reports on the nominees, which he said had just been distributed to them.
An adamant Senator Mark countered him, saying there was enough time for senators to study the reports about the nominees and make immediate contributions.
'There is enough time for you to read the ones you can read today but if I know you well, I am sure that in few minutes, you can read it and if there is any question that you will want to ask, you should also be free to ask.
There is nothing in our rule to say that you must be given two days ahead of time.
So it is not clearly your privilege.
Again, I rule you out of order,' he said.
In like manner, Senator Anthony Adeniyi, (APC, Ekiti) raised a point of order, saying his order was premised on Rule 118,119,120 and 121 of the Senate Standing Rule which reads: 'When nominations have been made by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the nominations shall be referred to appropriate committees or committee of the whole for consideration.
' He cited Section 120 (a) of the constitution which requires that nominees must not only declare their assets but undergo security screening with the nation's relevant security agencies, but said such were not attached in the documents distributed to senators to prove they had done that and therefore demanded that the exercise be put on hold but he could not succeed in his argument as the Senate President, again, ruled him out of order.
Meanwhile, the Senate screened six out of the 12 ministerial nominees on Wednesday.
Those screened were Senator Musiliu Obanikoro (Lagos), Hon.
Mohammed Wakil (Borno),Amb.
Aminu Wali (Kano),Mrs Akon Etim Eyakenyi (Akwa Ibom, Mrs Lawrencia Labaran Mallam (Kano) and Gen.
Aliyu Mohammed Gusau (rtd) from Zamfara State respectively.
Following Senate tradition, Senator Musuliu Obanikoro and Hon.
Mohammed Wakili were not asked questions due to the fact they were former lawmakers.
They were simply asked to bow and go.
Similarly, the former NSA Chief, Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, received the same treatment in line with esprit de corps.
He was also asked to take a bow with no questions asked.
Speaking earlier, Senator Obanikoro who listed his achievements while he served as Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana to include his intervention in Ghana's political problem when the political party of the incumbent president, John Mahama, lost the presidential election, said but for his intervention through the late Nigerian President, Umaru Yar' Adua, Ghana would have witnessed a political problem as a result of the development.
Obanikoro equally said he raised the volume of Nigerian investment in Ghana from N600 million when he arrived as Nigerian representative in the country to N4.
6 billion before his redeployment.
Besides, he said Nigerians in Ghana were factionalised under ethnic nationality but he was able to unite all the different ethnic groups.
Also speaking, former Nigerian Ambassador to China, Aminu Wali, said tackling corruption in the country was a collective responsibility of all Nigerians, insisting that they were all guilty of the menace that has eaten deep into the fabric of the nation at present.
EMMA UCHE, ABUJA