senateSenate yesterday concluded its screening of the remaining five ministerial nominees out of the 36 names forwarded to it by President Muhammadu Buhari. Only 18 of the nominees have been confirmed with the senate expected to confirm the rest today at plenary.
Already intense lobbying is going on at the senate on the matter.
However, contrary to predictions, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for embattled former governor of Rivers state and ministerial nominee, Rotimi Amaechi and Pastor Usani Usani Uguru from Cross River State, who had tough times during their screening on the floor of the senate.
Nigerian Pilot investigations reveal that serious horse trading was going on among the contending parties in the senate, namely; senators from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to ensure that the two nominees are confirmed when the senate resumes today.
Amaechi is currently facing two major hurdles which include a probe report which indicted him of fraud and an outright rejection of his nomination by the three Senators from his state.
At the final screening, the PDP senators refused to overlook the report of the senate ethics committee which investigated the allegations against Amaechi and consequently abstained from his screening.
On his part, Usani ran into troubled waters when he attempted to disparage PDP, a party he allegedly was card carrying member and on which platform he became a commissioner of transport in cross river state as well as member of a Federal Board. His response of “God forbid” raised the adrenalin of PDP senators who saw his action as not only a betrayal but hypocrisy, following which the PDP senators rose in unison to condemn his disposition and conduct. He was however saved by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki at least for that day.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that as at last night, high level horse trading was going on to pacify PDP senators who are bent on stopping Amaechi from being confirmed. However a source confided in Nigeria Pilot that despite the ongoing wrangling, all ministerial nominees would be confirmed. He insisted that the issue is being addressed from all fronts to ensure that areas of disagreement would be smoothened before the confirmation date.
Although the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, while announcing the adjournment of the Senate sittings to 10:00am today after the screening of the last nominee, Aisha Abubakar from Sokoto State about 3:15pm yesterday, did not say anything about confirmation of the remaining screened 18 nominees, feelers from the meeting held by PDP senators revealed that it may be done today.
Reliable sources at the meeting which lasted for just 30 minutes has it that it was all about stopping Amaechi and Nguru from being confirmed as ministers.
One of the sources, a senator from South – South geo- political zone said: “The meeting is about having a united front on the floor of the senate on critical issues as senators from the same party”.
It would be recalled that last week Thursday, when Amaechi and five other nominees were screened by the Senate, the PDP senators refused to participate in the exercise on the grounds of the report on petition written against him not considered by the Senate before the exercise.
The Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio said it was procedurally wrong for the senate to have invited Amaechi for the exercise when report of a committee assigned by it to carry out thorough investigation on petition written against him by concerned petitioners from Rivers state , was yet to be considered.
Uguru’s problem with the PDP senators arose from his “God forbid” response to a remark made by a PDP senator on Tuesday during his screening , that the journeys he made round the country before the last general elections was on the PDP platform.
Although he was made to apologize by the Senate President to the PDP senators when he was taken up by the minority leader, Godswill Akpabio but he was not forgiven by them as two other PDP senators, Eyinnaya Abaribe and Mao Ohuabunwa through different points of order, raised other issues bordering on alleged non declaration of assets, forgery of tax clearance certificate and questionable pastoral title against him.


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