Confirms Durojaiye, Dare, others

SENATE yesterday rejected the nominations of Pastor Ezekiel Yissa Benjamin from Kwara State and Alhaji Aliyu Saidu Abubakar from Bauchi State into the Governing Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, as commissioners to represent North Central and North East zones. Benjamin, who was the speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly between 1999 and 2003, was reportedly dropped for political reasons while Abubakar’s rejection may not be unconnected to his repeated calls for the scrapping of the Senate. The former speaker’s rejection was predicated on the report presented by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Gilbert Nnaji (PDP Enugu South), which had recommended his rejection along with that
of Abubakar. The committee, while recommending Benjamin’s rejection, claimed that his background as a trained nurse “will not put him in good stead to be able to effectively cope with the dynamics of the communications sector if his nomination is confirmed.” Iinvestigation, however, revealed that Benjamin’s nomination had before the committee’s recommendation ran into trouble waters at the screening level, where he affirmed his membership of Senator Gbemi Saraki-led All Progressives Congress, APC, political camp in the state as against the widely known camp led by the Senate President Bukola Saraki. Abubakar in his own case also ran into trouble with the Senate during his screening on October 18, when the committee confronted him with photographs of his frequent protests
and calls that the Senate should be scrapped at the gate of the National Assembly. During the screening, the committee asked him if he still believed in his cause, to which he said yes. He reiterated his position that the existence of the Senate was not justifiable, pointing out that the upper legislative chamber was only wasting the nation’s resources by its existence. In his report, Nnaji said Abubakar’s response to questions asked by the committee portrayed him as “a candidate who is not prepared for the demands of office such as required of a non-executive commissioner on the Governing Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission.” The report added: “Mr. Saidu Abubakar could not produce any credible educational certificate for the committee to verify at the screening. He obviously lacks the professional and educational disciplines provided in Section 7(1) (a-h) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 which stipulates
the qualification of the commission’s board.” Acting on the committee’s recommendations, the Senate dropped Abubakar and Benjamin but confirmed Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye as chairman of the NCC Governing Board. Also confirmed were Sunday Dare (executive commissioner), Ifeanyi Ararume (non-executive commissioner), Clement Omeiza Baiye (non-executive commissioner) and Chief Okoi Obono Obla (non-executive commissioner). Similarly, the Senate yesterday confirmed May Agbamuche-Mbu from Delta State, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu (Anambra), Ahmed Mu’azu (Gombe), Mohammed Kudu Haruna (Niger), Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola (Oyo) and Abubakar Nahuche from Zamfara State as Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, commissioners. Also yesterday, the Senate confirmed the appointments of Justices Dauda Bage and Paul Galinje as Supreme Court justices.

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