After days of waiting, the Senate on Thursday confirmed that the screening of the former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi as a ministerial nominee from the state, will be done next Tuesday.
This is even as one of the remaining 18 ministerial nominees to be screened by the Senate, Ms Aisha Abubakar from Sokoto State, has been petitioned against by a coalition of women from the state.
The Senate had on Tuesday listed Amaechi along with nine other nominees, now confirmed as ministers, on its order paper for screening but stood down Amaechi’s screening that day for the next day, which also did not hold, due to the failure of its Committee on Ethics and Public Petitions to present the report of its findings on petitions written against Amaechi by the Integrity Group from Rivers State.
But the Senate’s spokesman, Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West) and a member of the committee, at a press briefing on Thursday, said the report on the petition would be presented by the committee next Tuesday, after which Amaechi would be screened by the Senate.
He stated that since the position of the committee on the petitions against Amaechi is based on the Senate rule of not deliberating on matters already in court, the Senate would adopt it and screen Amaechi.
“The committee has a one line report that the matter is in court and that in compliance with our laid down rules and regulations that any case that is undergoing judicial remedy cannot be discussed, we have distanced ourselves from it; the report will be presented on Tuesday by the grace of God and I assure Nigerians that former Governor Rotimi Amaechi by the grace of God will be screened on Tuesday”, he said.
He added that further screening and confirmation of the remaining ministerial nominees have also been slated for next Tuesday, saying “We are going to screen nine of them on Tuesday and the remaining nine would be taken on Wednesday. The confirmation of all the nominees would be taken on Wednesday”.
The petition against Aisha Abubakar as a ministerial nominee from Sokoto State laid on the floor of the Senate yesterday by Senator Ibrahim Gobir (APC Sokoto East) was according to him, from a coalition of women in the state.
He said the kernel of their petition against the nominee was her alleged incompetence to represent them and by extension, the state, in the federal cabinet.
“The Sokoto women through this petition are demanding Ms Aisha Abubakar’s replacement on the ministerial list with a more competent person from the state”, he said.
The Senate has accordingly forwarded the petition to its committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to look into its merits and report back latest by Tuesday morning before the commencement of screening of the remaining 18 ministerial nominees.
Meanwhile, the Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki, has officially informed President Muhammadu Buhari of the confirmation of nomination of 18 out of the 36 ministerial nominees.