BY OBUTE JAMES
The Senate after much deliberation on Thursday 29 October, 2015 confirmed former governor of Rivers State Rotimi Amechi and other ministerial nominees as ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari Administration.
However, the heated debate over Amaechi’s confirmation as minister led to the walk out of senators of the Peoples Democratic Party from the senate chamber.
Amaechi was the last to be taken for confirmation and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, called on Senator Samuel Anyanwu, the head of Senate Ad hoc Committee on Ethics and Privileges to provide the report on the investigation of the petition against Amaechi.
Anyanwu’s committee recommended that the Senate could not do anything with the confirmation considering that Amaechi’s case against the Rivers State Government was pending at the Court of Appeal.
Amaechi had appealed a judgement of the High Court which upheld that the commission of enquiry set up by the state government to try him was legal.
However, in view of the fact that the case was not directly on the letter of President Buhari’s request for confirmation of ministerial nominees, Senate Leader, moved a motion to confirm Amechi and not confirming him would be against the Senate Rule.
The Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, who supposed to second Ndume’s motion refused insisting that the PDP lawmakers would first express themselves before seconding Ndume’s motion.
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, used his veto power to overrule the need for the Minority Leader to second the pending motion by Ndume.
Senator George Sekibo from Rivers State, while rejecting Amaechi’s confirmation and referring to Ndume, argued that the allegation of corruption and other alleged crimes against Amaechi should not be amended by any Senator.
He was countered by Senator Babajide Omoworare, who noted that though the Committee on Ethics and Privileges is the most important Committee of the House, part of the Standing Rules of the Senate was being contravened.
He said since the petition is in court, the Senate cannot decide on the matter.
Senator Barnabas Gemade then urged the Senate President to put the issue to vote saying the minority already had their say and that it was time for the majority to have their way.
The senators then voted to reject the committee report with the majority favouring the rejection.
As Saraki was putting the issue to a vote, the PDP senators, led by Akpabio, begged to exit the Senate Chamber.
The PDP senators then staged a walk-out, but the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, waited behind.
The Senate thereafter approved the nomination of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as Minister of the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Other nominees confirmed by the Senate included Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Khadija Abba Ibrahim, Heineken Lokpobiri, Cladius Omoleye Daramola, Baba Shehuri Mustapha, Ocholi Enojo James, Adewole Folorunso, Hon. Bawa Bwari, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, Zainab S. Ahmed, Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali, Pastor Usani Uguru, Mr. Okechukwu Eyinna Enelamah, Prof. Anwuka Anthony Gozie, Mohammed Musa Bello, Adamu Adamu, and Aisha Abubakar.