Thursday, 22 October 2015

AT LAST... PDP Senators Silent As Senate Screens Amaechi, Other Ministerial Nominees

The Senate today, October 22, conducted another round of ministerial screening as five ministerial nominees answered questions raised on the floor of the House.

Topping the list of ministerial nominees screened today is former governor of Rivers state Rotimi Amaechi.

A little drama will later take centre stage after Amaechi who is the last man standing from the first batch of ministerial nominees, kept PDP senators mum as he answered questions raised on the floor of the House.

Chat212 was live at the Red Chamber to bring you minute-by-minute account of the screening exercise. Read our coverage below:

15:33: After considering five ministerial nominees, the Senate adjourns plenary to Tuesday, October 27.

15:31: Senate President Bukola Saraki defers screening of other ministerial screening to next plenary session. The screening of former Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Isaac Adewole, a ministerial nominee from Osun state, earlier billed to be screened today, has been deferred to next week.

15:30: Senate now moves out of its Committee of the Whole back into Plenary.

15:29: After answering series of questions and given a glass of water for his troubles, Ocholi is told to bow and go.

15:27: Ocholi says: “On the number of Women in Government, Ocholi James SAN says ‘I plead with you not to allow me comment on this.”

15:25: Ocholi says: “There is serious gap and absence of patriotism in Nigeria”

15:23: Ocholi says: “We are building skyscrapers on no foundation and that’s why communal clashes has been on the increase.”

15:16: More questions for James Ocholi.

15:14: Ocholi says: “The Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is too wide. We are in fact lucky that they don’t die on the sea.”

15:09: Ocholi says: “Our Supreme Court Justices are doing a very great work.”

15:05: Ocholi says: “Plea Bargain should be encouraged instead of being abolished.”

15:02: More questions for James .E. Ocholi

15:00: Ocholi says: “Justice delayed is Justice denied.”

14:59: Ocholi says: ‘One agency can combine the functions of the EFCC, ICPC, etc and perform well.”

14:57: Ocholi says: “I make a vow; I will be honest, I will look at the issues &say the truthful legal advice to the President.”

14:55: Ocholi says: “Justice is key in an egalitarian society.”

14:52: Ocholi says: “The Legal system here is being slow down, majority of our court are still analog.”

14:48: Ocholi says: “We have 69% of the total number of inmates awaiting trial in Prisons. This is unhealthy for Nigeria.”

14:45: Ocholi says: “There should be design for new set of prisons where we can have corrective measure to create about a reformation.”

14:43: Ocholi says: “‘There are over 57,000 prisoners awaiting trial languishing in prisons. It is dangerous for ours society.”

14:40: Ocholi says: “I’m proud to say Mr. President has known me for a long time, I will never disappoint him.”

14:36: Senate Deputy Leader Bala Ibn Na’Allah opens the floor of questions to James Ocholi, followed by questions from Senate Majority Leader Ali Ndume and that from Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio.

14:30: Ocholi says: “If i’m being confirmed as Minister, I will not let the Senate and the President down.”

14:28: Saraki asks Ocholi to introduce himself.

14:27: Next to be screened is James Ocholi (Kogi state).

14:25: Baba Shehuri is told to bow and go after answering just one question from Senator Bukola Saraki. Baba Shehuri Mustapha is a former Councillor, former LG Chairman, former House of Assembly Honourable and Reps Honourable.

14:24: Baba Shehuri says: “Local government should have financial autonomy.”

14:22: Baba Shehuri says: “Throughout my political life, I have served only the Nigerian people.”

14:20: Baba Shehuri says: “‘I am not here to represent any vested interest, I am here for the good of the common man.”

14:17: Saraki asks Baba Shehuri to introduce himself.

14:15: Next nominee to be screened is Mustapha Baba Shehuri (Borno state)

14:12: After answering series of questions, Claudius Omoleye Daramola (Ondo state) is told to take a bow and go.

14:11: Daramola says: “We need to introduce entrepreneurial studies into our educational system.”

14:10: Daramola says: “There should be no fees for students and the students should be fed every afternoon.”

14:08: More questions for Daramola.

14:05: Daramola on Cultism: “You rarely find Children of the poor as Cultist, most of them come from comfortable families.”

14:03: Daramola says: “Teachers are no longer committed because they are being owned. I believe teachers should be trained and re-trained and they should be paid regularly.”

14:00: Daramola says: “No thorough supervision in our education system that it’s why it is weak. Hence, there should be thorough supervision so as our education system will improve.”

13:57: Daramola says: “We have systemic problems in our Educational Sector.”

13:55: Daramola says: “Constant strikes in the university is as a result of lack of communication between the government and the universities. There should be dialogue.”

13:50: Daramola says: “‘I was one of the first few lucky Nigerians to be admitted into Usman Dan Fodio University.”

13:46: Daramola is now being quizzed by Senators.

13:40: Saraki asks Daramola to introduce himself.

13:37: Next to be screened is Claudius Omoleye Daramola (Ondo state).

13:33: After answering just a question from Senate President Bukola Saraki, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri is told to bow and go.

13:32: Lokpobiri says; ‘This Senate should focus on providing a good allocation for the water sector in Nigeria”

13:30: Lokpobiri says: ‘I wrote on Enviromental Rights as a scholar because our rights do not make provision for Environmental Rights.”

13:28: Saraki asks Lokpobiri to introduce himself.

13:23: After answering series of questions, Rotimi Amaechi is told to take a bow and go. A large number of National Assembly staff and well wishers yelling we don win, we don win after the ministerial sreening of Rotimi Ameachi. Next to be screened is Senator  Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa state).

Some supporters of the ministerial nominee, Rotimi Amaechi chanted his name after his screening at the Senate.

The lobby was packed with people from different tribes showing support.

13:23: Amaechi says: “There is nowhere i was indicted.”

13:22: Amaechi says: “A Nigerian is his own government because he provides his own power and security.”

13:21: Amaechi says: “If they send a girl to you to do something for her and you sleep with the girl, you are corrupt. If you offer your child or family member you know is not qualified.  My family and i slept in one room because i did what was right I hate corruption. Corruption is hard to define.”

13:20: Amaechi on corruption: “I have never taken bribe.”

13:19: Amaechi says: “Danjuma Goje came to my house one day to shout at me and he said, “have you ever been a senator before, have you ever been a minister before”, now i want to be a minister, after that, i will be a senator.”

13:19: Amaechi says: “Why people don’t invest in Nigeria is because the cost of investment is higher than the profit.”

13:17: Amaechi says: “We must improve on the Social Rights of the people; if you have peace you’ll have investors.”

13:15: Amaechi says: “Nigeria cannot sustain itself with only proceeds from oil.”

13:12: Amaechi says: “Mining is one area God has blessed us that we need to invest. We also need to invest in Education.”

13:07:  Sen. Wammako asks Amaechi what will he do in his first hundred days in office if confirmed as ministers, Senator Sani asks Amaechi to define corruption and Senator Ashafa asks Amaechi to address corruption charges levelled against him, while Senator Abubakar asks Amaechi to suggest way forward towards curbing the menace of unemployment.

13:05: More questions for Rotimi Amaechi.

13:04: Amaechi says: ”If I become the minister of Niger Delta, the East/West will be the first to be completed.”

13:03: Amaechi says: “‘I believe there are resources in the Niger-Delta, that is why there is Militancy.”

13:01: Amaechi says: “If legislators want the president to assign portfolios to nominees then it should be included in the constitution.”

13:00: Amaechi on advise on upcoming politicians: “I don’t have an advise for upcoming politicians because Nigerian politicians believe there is need for compromise but not when it clashes with principles.”

12:55: Amaechi says: “I was born to test my right and defend my right. I was once a student union leader and i’m one man that don’t like corruption.”

12:53: Amaechi says: “All we did in the Governors Forum was to defend the rights of Nigerians.”

12:46: Senate President Bukola Saraki however calls for order in the House and so questions are now been forwarded to Amaechi after the mild arguments.

12:43: The Senate Majority Leader Ali Ndume has suggested that Amaechi should be allowed to bow and go because he is a former speaker in his state. This has triggered uproar in the Senate.

12:40: After speaking about his achievements, Senate Minority leader Godswill Akpabio informs the Senate that PDP senators have no questions for the ministerial nominee Rotimi Amaechi at least for now.

12:37: Amaechi says: ”If I am confirmed as a minister, I will bring my experience as a former political office holder to bear in government.”

12:35: Amaechi says: “Under my leadership as governor of Rivers state, we redefined governance.”

12:33: Amaechi says: “I happen to be one of the first speakers and also served as a governor in my state for 8 years.”

12:30: Saraki asks Amaechi (Rivers state) to introduce himself.

12:28: First nominee, Rotimi Amaechi is ushered into the Red Chamber.

12:27: Senate to moves into Committe of Whole to begin the Ministerial screening.

12:20: Rotimi Amaechi and five other ministerial nominees have been listed for Thursday’s screening at the Senate. Other nominees that will face the lawmakers include Heineken Lokpobiri, Claudius Omoleye Daramola, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Baba Shehuri Mustapha and Ocholi James.

12:15: Four bills are laid for presentation on the floor of the senate for first reading . The bills include National Saecurity tax fun (est,etc) bill 2015, Federal Capital Territory Act CAP F6, LFN (Ammendment) bill and the Nigerian Postal Services Act CAP

12:10: Senators Barnabas Gemade and Abaribe raises public petitions. They are referred to the Cttee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

12:05: Saraki reads the announcement for the day which includes a letter from President Buhari on appointments.

12:00: Senator Thompson Sekibo from Rivers state addresses the controversy that has clouded the nomination of Rotimi Amaechi and if he will be screened today. He says: “If the Order paper shows he will be taken then he will be taken. It’s not my own personal position, the Senate position supersedes every other position. So if his name is included to be screened today, he will be screened. We’ll not stop him.”

11:59: After a hour in a closed session, the Senate resumes plenary.

10:57: The Senate moves into a closed session in preparation of today’s ministerial screening.

10:55: Senate President Bukola Saraki leads the Senate Leadership to the Chambers and the Official prayer is taken.

10:50: Senators arrive the Senate Chambers in preparation for Plenary.