Ahead of former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi’s ministerial screening by the Senate on Tuesday, the majority All Progressives Congress senators have vowed to ensure his confirmation as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Amaechi’s screening is coming six days after 18 of the 21 ministerial nominees on President Muhammadu Buhari’s first list were cleared.
The ex-Rivers governor and Barr. Adebayo Shittu, a former member of Oyo State House of Assembly in the Second Republic, are the only ones remaining on the list to be cleared.
However, some of the minority Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators are spoiling for a showdown – initiated from outside the Senate – vowing to stop Amaechi’s screening.
But the APC senators are not taking the threat to stop Amaechi lightly as they are leaving no stone unturned to ensure his clearance.
“We are allowing the minority to have their say. We will have our way”, Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, (APC, Borno North), said last night.
According to Ndume: “This issue of Amaechi is generating unnecessary tension. I think being a two-term governor and a former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, he is qualified to be a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The report of the Senate Committee is ready and we will go ahead with the screening of the nominee. Our responsibility lies in ensuring that Amaechi has met the requirements of the constitution.
“We have to confirm if he is truly from Rivers State, his agenda for the nation and if he has the capacity to serve this country”.
He pointed out that “There is no provision in the 1999 Constitution or the Senate Standing Orders that says you must disqualify a nominee because of a petition.
“If anyone has issues or allegations against Amaechi, let the person go to court to prove these. Under normal circumstance, Amaechi ought to take a bow in view of his past records.
“But we will want to hear from him what he has in stock for the nation which he wants to serve.
“We will consider the report of the committee on Tuesday or any time in the week. But this noise from PDP cannot stop Amaechi’s confirmation.
“We have 58 APC Senators (excluding the President of the Senate who has no vote unless there is a tie) and we are all united behind Amaechi. The PDP has 48 Senators. Assuming that all the PDP Senators are against Amaechi, the majority will still have its way.
“Section 5 of the constitution is very clear on the powers of the President. President Muhammadu Buhari has exercised his powers by appointing his nominees. Those aggrieved should go to court”.