By Nuel Suji, Abuja – The Senate on Tuesday carried out a screening exercise on former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi and four other Ministerial Nominees, even as the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) senators withdraw participation in the exercise.
Amaechi’s screening had earlier been deferred till Thursday following the different petitions against his candidacy all of which bothered on alleged corruption.
The Thursday sitting of the Committee of the Whole where the nominees were screened started with motion moved acknowledging the Senate’s receipt of its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions report on petitions submitted by the Integrity Group.
Minority Leader of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio consequently announced the decision of the PDP caucus not to ask Amaechi any question, attributing their reasons to the petitions before the senate.
However, when asked to comment on the allegations, the former Governor assured the senate that the panel report which was the basis of petitions against him did not indict him in anyway.
He said he had gone through the entire report and was never indicted by the report submitted to the Senate, by the State’s inquiry Commission set up by the incumbent Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Amaechi also responded to other questions asked by APC senators on power; Niger Delta; unemployment; corruption among others.
He was later asked to take a bow and go.
Other Nominees screened Thursday were: Hon. Babasherif Mustapha, (Borno); Professor Claudius Omoyele Daramola, (Ondo); Mr. James Ocholi (SAN), (Kogi) and Former Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, (Bayelsa).
When it later returned to plenary, Senate President Bukola Saraki, announced the decisions of the Committee of the Whole but did not call for voice vote to confirm the nominations.
Instead, the senate adjourned till next week Tuesday when it is expected to continue with the screening and confirmation of other nominees.
Thursday’s screening brought to seven, out of about 18 left to be screened.
Meanwhile, the Rivers state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has expressed delight that former governor was able to appear before the senate for screening.
A statement by the party said “his sparkling performance during his screening by the Senate on Thursday afternoon, immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has left no one in doubt of how eminently qualified he is to become a Minister.
“We are full of pride and wish to heartily congratulate our leader, Rt. Hon. Amaechi, for the excellent way he acquitted himself when he finally appeared before the upper chamber this afternoon for screening as a ministerial nominee. It can only take a Lion of Niger Delta Politcs to conduct and compact yourself for the excellent way you did,” the statement added.