The Senate will screen Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (Kano), Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa) and six other ministerial nominees today, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said yesterday.
He listed other nominees to be screened today to include Richard Adeniyi Adebayo (Ekiti), Mustapha Baba Shehuri (Borno), Ramatu Tijjani (Kogi), Mohammed Abdullahi (Nasarawa), Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo) and Sunday Dare (Oyo).
At yesterday’s session, which lasted for about six hours, the senators screened a total of 10 nominees. Six of them were given special treatment as they were asked to take a bow and go. The nominees that were screened yesterday are Sen Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Uchechukwu Ogah (Abia), Sen George Akume (Benue), Ogbonnaya Onu (Ebonyi), Emeka Nwajiuba (Imo), Sen Adeleke Mamora (Lagos), Olamilekan Adegbite (Ogun), Adamu Adamu (Bauchi) and Sharon Ikeazor (Anambra). The screening started by 11:20am with Ogah, the Abia nominee, and closed at 6:10pm with Ikeazor, from Anambra State. The senators went for an hour break (1pm to 2pm). The six nominees that took ‘a bow and go’ were Akpabio, Amaechi, Akume, Nwajuaba, Mamora and Ikeazor, after they made brief remarks in line with the tradition of the Senate. Akume was the first to be given the treatment when Sen Emmanuel Oker-jev (Benue, PDP) told the Senate that the Benue caucus had requested that he should be allowed to take a bow and go. There was no objection when Akume was asked to go. During the turn of Amaechi, however, Sen Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe) said the former minister of transport should not be allowed to take a bow and go as he was not a former national legislator. Goje said: “Our rules do not recognize House of Assembly. The nominee is my friend and he is a former governor.” Responding, Lawan said, “I agree totally that it is not in our rule but we can regulate our proceedings. The nominee is going to be a beneficiary perchance.” The Senate president added that any person who passed through a legislative house including the Senate, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly will benefit from the tradition. However, minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia) while describing Amaechi as a PDP donation to APC, said the three senators from Rivers State have some questions for him. “The three senators said you should do whatever you can as minister of Federal Republic of Nigeria in making sure that peace is maintained in Rivers State. “If you’re returned as the Minister of Transport you should ensure that the Eastern corridor railway project is executed. As you are doing well for the western corridor, we want same for the eastern corridor,” he said. Also speaking, Senate Leader, Sen Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi State) advocated for the deployment of Amaechi to the transport ministry to complete the projects he started. He also urged Amaechi to look into the rail project in the Northwestern axis of Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states.
Our correspondent reports that when Akpabio was asked to take a bow and go, Abaribe said he would have made Akpabio sweat but for the tradition of the upper chamber. “We know that as an uncommon person, you will work very uncommonly to make sure the relation between the chamber and the villa is uncommon,” he said. The Senate leader reminded Akpabio of how he led opposition senators to stage a walkout during the screening of Amaechi in 2015, as the then senate minority leader. Akpabio defected to the APC in 2018. Also, there was uproar when Abaribe said Sen Adeleke Mamora was denied the opportunity to return to the parliament when, “They used local material… and local considerations to dwarf national considerations. “Mamora is our good friend. We see you as an ambassador to the villa. We feel that you’re going to school those who do not understand the workings of this chamber.” Lawan told Abaribe to confine himself to the matter under discussion. For her part, Ikeazor was asked to take a bow and go when the Senate President urged his colleagues to let her benefit from the privilege on gender ground. Aduda, Melaye protest exclusion of FCT indigene Senators Philip Aduda (PDP, FCT) and Dino Melaye (PDP, Kogi) have protested the non-inclusion of an indigene of the FCT in the ministerial list. Aduda raised a point of order urging the president to include the FCT, saying “Years back we had a minister from FCT. General Bagudu was a minister. Please ask the president to consider FCT.” Melaye also raised a point order saying, “It is not a matter of appeal, it is a constitutional matter. If the constitution says that FCT shall be treated like a state, it should be considered.” Lawan said: “This is an executive function and I’m sure the executive will take appropriate action.” How TSA almost collapsed banks – Ogah Ogah, who is the President of Master Energy Group and a former banker, said the Treasury Single Account (TSA) almost collapsed the country’s commercial banks when its implementation started. “All of us knew that at the introduction of TSA, it almost collapsed most of the banks. The CBN came up with a policy that helps keep them alive. “CBN created a cushion effect so that they will be able to be protected from crashing. And that is what is holding most of the banks,” he said. He said most of the investors in the downstream sector cannot recoup their investment as a result of epileptic policies. “If we decide to deregulate the petroleum sector, particularly the downstream sector, it must be a guided deregulation – a guided deregulation because of its impact on our foreign exchange. “With what is currently going on, the Nigerian naira at the price which it is today is okay for the nation. “If there are people that will not want the refineries to work, we should show them the way out and get the people that will make the refineries to work. For me, the refineries must work, if they don’t work in the next 10 years there will be no money to be spent on capital projects,” he said. For his part, Adamu Adamu, who was education minister in Buhari’s first term, said there was nothing wrong for him to be among the speech writers of the president, noting that he has been writing the president’s speech since 1994. “Now that he is the president his speech is a collaborative effort,” he said. In an interview, Akpabio promised to do his best to help the president to take the country to the next level.