PDP senators walk out of the Senate chambers to protest Rotimi Amaechi’s clearance as a ministerial nominee, before his confirmation at the National Assembly in Abuja yesterday.
President Muhammadu Buhari is to assign portfolio and administer the oath of office on his ministers “most likely on Wednesday”, Daily Trust has learnt. A source at the Presidency, who craved anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the issue, disclosed this to our correspondent yesterday. “The first major official assignment before Mr President in November is the inauguration of his cabinet. Arrangements have already been made for this and this [will] most likely happen on Wednesday”, the source said.
In the same vein, an aide to one of the ministers-designate also told our correspondent last night that his principal had received a message from the Presidency that the inauguration would take place on Wednesday.
“The inauguration is taking place Wednesday next week, according to what I heard my boss saying this (yesterday) afternoon,” the aide said.
But the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said only the president would communicate when he would inaugurate his cabinet.
Adesina, who said he could not confirm exactly when the ministers-designate would be sworn in, added they would have to notify their family members.
Senate confirms Amaechi, 17 others
The Senate yesterday confirmed former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi as minister, along with 17 other nominees.
This is even as senators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) walked out from the Senate chamber after failing to stop Amaechi’s confirmation.
With the confirmation, the Senate has confirmed all the 36 nominees submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari for cabinet position.
The confirmation of the ministerial nominees started after the Senators returned from a closed session that lasted for 1.20 minutes.
Our correspondent reports that at the end of session, senators of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were seen around the Senate President Bukola Saraki while their PDP counterparts, including the Deputy Senate Ike Ekweremadu, gathered around the Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio.
Immediately, the Senate resumed sitting, Akpabio drew the attention of the senate president to the need to debate the report on the petition against Amaechi.
Saraki noted the observation of Akpabio and the confirmation proper commenced.
Our correspondent reports that in less than 20 minutes, the senators confirmed 17 of the nominees as Senator Achonu Nneji (PDP, Imo North) announced the withdrawal of petition written against the Imo State nominee Professor Anthony Anwuka.
PDP ambush on Amaechi
Our correspondent reports that the trouble started when it got to the confirmation of Amaechi.
Saraki asked the chairman of the Ethics, Privileges and Public petitions committee, Senator Samuel Anyanwu to present the report on petition against Amaechi.
Presenting the report, Anyanwu said his committee was unable to recommend the consideration of Amaechi’s confirmation as there was a court case on the matter.
Not satisfied with the report, the Senate Leader Ali Ndume moved a point of order (53), saying the committee lacks the power to make any recommendation as the matter was before the court.
But Akpabio refused to second the motion; rather, he insisted that the rules of the Senate must be adhered to.
“I want us to follow our rules and not our sentiment. The leader is moving the motion to shut down the debate,” he said.
After Akpabio spoke, Senator George Thompson Sekibo (PDP, Rivers East) took to the floor and recommended that the confirmation of Amaechi be suspended.
However, BabajideOmoworare (APC, Osun East) opposed Sekibo, saying the recommendations of the committee can be amended, and seconded the motion by Ndume.
Senator BiodunOlujimi (PDP, Ekiti South) said: “Mr. President from all indications, we have been shutdown. Mr. President there is a moral burden not only on us but President MuhammaduBuhari.”
After she spoke, all the PDP Senators walked out of the chamber in protest but the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu stayed behind.
Senator Barnabas Gemade (APC, Benue) then suggested that they carry on the confirmation of Amaechi.
Saraki put a question on the report of the petition against Amaechi and the senators unanimously voted against it. Amaechi was eventually confirmed.
Others confirmed yesterday include Adamud Adamu (Bauchi), Prof Anthony Anwuka (Imo), Okechukwu Enelamah (Abia), Muhammadu Bello (Adamawa), Ms. Aisha Abubakar (Sokoto), Khadija Bukar Abba (Yobe), Claudius Daramola (Ondo) and Geoffrey Onyeama (Enugu).
The rest are M. Dan-Ali (Zamfara) Barrister James E. Ocholi( Kogi), Zainab Ahmed (Kaduna), Mustapha Shehuri (Borno), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa), Prof Isaac Adewole Folorunsho (Osun), Pastor Usani Usani Uguru (Cross River), Abubakar Bwari Bawa (Niger) and Barrister Adebayo Shittu (Oyo).
Earlier, the Senate confirmed Chris Ngige (Anambra), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Abdulrahman Dambazau (Kano), Aisha Alhassan (Taraba), Ogbonnaya Onu (Ebonyi), Kemi Adeosun (Ogun), Abubakar Malami (Kebbi), Hadi Sirika (Katsina), Suleiman Adamu (Jigawa), Solomon Dalong (Plateau), Ibe Kachikwu (Delta), Osagie Ehanire (Edo), Audu Ogbeh (Benue), Udo Udo Udoma (Akwa Ibom) and Lai Mohammed (Kwara)
Others are Amina Mohammed (Gombe), Ibrahim Usman Jibril (Nasarawa), Anthony Onwuka (Imo), Muhammadu Bello (Adamawa).
Saraki thanked his colleagues and said the nominees have the capacity to contribute towards the development of the country.