Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber, the Senate on Tuesday, against all hopes, excluded the name of embattled Rivers State former Governor, Rotimi Ameachi, from the day’s screening.
From the Order Paper of the Senate, it was gathered that only three of the nominees will scheduled to appear before the lawmakers for screening as ministers.
The first version of the Order Paper had contained 8 ministerial nominees, including Rotimi Amaechi, but was quickly replaced with another one without his name.
The version which was circulated as the Senate began plenary had only the names of Barrister Shittu Adebayo, Claudius Omoleye Daramola and that of Khadija Abba Ibrahim.
Giving reason why Amaechi was not included in Tuesday’s Ministerial screening the Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Senator Dino Melaye revealed the erstwhile Governor of Rivers State was omitted from the Tuesday ministerial screening as Nigerians demanded that the screening must be thorough.
It would be recalled that Dino had informed Nigerians on Monday that Amaechi will be among the ministerial nominees to be screened today by the upper chambers of the National Assembly.
According to him, only three people were chosen for Tuesday’s screening due to popular demands by Nigerian’s on the need to avoid rush on the questions that will be thrown at the nominees, adding that the essence was to do a thorough job to the satisfaction of Nigerians who are yearning for a better screening exercise.
“The reason why we reduced the number of nominees is because we responded to the agitations and yearnings and the aspirations of Nigerians.
”We have monitored the reactions of Nigerians on the issue of the ministerial screening and we found out that Nigerians believed that we are rushing the process and it was not as thorough as they would desire,” he said.
Melaye further assured Nigerians that the senate was doing its best to ensure that the right people are picked as minister, adding that Nigerians will surely be proud of their efforts at the end of the exercise.
He said ”We have agreed that we reduce to three or four per day so that the interaction and screening exercise will be more thorough and Nigerians will appreciate who is going to be their minister, ” he assured.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senate caucus had rose from its meeting last night with a resolve to back the embattled immediate past governor when he appears before the Senate for screening as a minister.
They equally vowed to utilize their slim majority over their Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterparts to swing votes in Amaechi’s favour should there be a division in the Senate over his confirmation.
The APC lawmakers had met at the National Assembly complex around 7.40 pm on Monday, where it was unanimously agreed that Amaechi’s ministerial nomination should be supported by the all members of the majority party in the Upper Chamber.
The Senate committee which looked into the petitions against the former Rivers Governor was forced to hands off the matter because it was before a law court and had no option than to recommend to the Senate to steer clear of his screening.
“The committee will recommend that since thematter is before a court of law, Amaechi should not be screened. If the Senate wants to, it can go ahead to screen him but that’s what the committee will recommend,” a source said.
The source had, however, explained that the recommendation of a committee was not necessarily binding as it is subject to intense debate among members after which the Senate will arrive at a resolution by a simple majority through a voice vote.
If the recommendation is adopted by a simple majority, it will be binding, but if rejected, it will be thrown out.
It is on this basis that Senate President Bukola Saraki may have deemed it necessary to defer Amaechi’s screening till Wednesday.
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