Thursday, October 22, 2015 7:51 pm
Senators of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday disagreed over the screening of former governor of Rivers, Rotimi Amaechi. But the numerically stronger APC had their way at the end, almost allowing Amaechi to take a bow.
The disagreement ensued when PDP Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, raised a Point of Order on Amaechi’s screening when the report on the petition against him was yet to be considered.
Akpabio insisted that it was the rules of the Senate that when the Committee on Ethic and Privileges submits its report on a petition against a nominee, it must be considered before screening.
To that end, the minority leader said that the PDP senators would not participate in asking the nominee any questions until the report of the committee was considered in the `Committee of the Whole.’
The committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions headed by Sen. Sam Anyanwu (PDP), laid its report today at plenary.
However, the disagreement deepened when the Leader of the Senate, Ali Ndume, in response to the Point of Order, said that if the PDP would not ask questions then the APC might ask the nominee to bow and go.
He said that the nominee, having been a speaker for eight years and a governor for another eight years had proved his competence and could be asked to bow and go.
The minority leader, however, moved to clarify his point of order but some of the APC senators were shouting“take a bow and go’’.
The President of the Senate, thereafter, moved to quell the situation and cautioned all the senators to stick to screening of the nominee rather than bantering.
The Senate thereafter proceeded with the screening with only the APC senators questioning the nominee.
Meanwhile, the PDP leadership in the Senate left the Red Chambers immediately after the screening of Amaechi, leaving only the Deputy Minority Whip, Sen. Abiodun Olujimi.
However, the minority leader returned and the PDP senators continued with questioning other ministerial nominees.
Amaechi was on the first list of ministerial nominees sent by President Muhammadu Buhari, but his screening had been stalled by the petition against him.
Speaking before responding to questions posed by his party’s senators, Amaechi spoke about his political journey, his involvement with student unionism, his being a PA to the former governor of the state, his eight years as speaker of the State House of Assembly and his governorship for two terms. He tried to charm the hostile PDP senators, especially those from his state by stating his connections with some of them. He called senate minority leader, Akpabio and Senator Jonah Jang, who he defeated 19-16 for the headship of the Governors Forum, his ‘brothers’.
“Whether I become minister or not, it will be on record that I once attend the Senate screening”, he said provoking cheers from the APC senators.
He also spoke about how his administration worked to restore the old glory of Port Harcourt.
“We now have almost 24-hour power supply in Rivers State. Rivers State was the first state to introduce Fiscal Responsibility Law. My administration redefined governance and reposition Rivers State, ” he said.
The former whose confirmation hearing had generated the greatest heat and the greatest attention also spoke about his time as the chairman of the Governors’ Forum, which he said served as a check on the excesses of the Federal Government under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“I was born to fight for my rights. I don’t like corruption,” he said recalling the coincidence of his screening with his ordeal while he was fighting to reclaim his governorship mandate in Rivers State in 2007. By the judgement of the Supreme Court, Amaechi was declared the governor of the state and Celestine Omehia, the impostor.