It is no longer news that six ministerial nominees were screened on Tuesday by the Nigerian Senate, leaving the outstanding number of nominees yet to be screened at five.
Those screened yesterday include Outgoing University of Ibadan Vice Chancellor (VC), Prof. Issac Adewole (Osun), the Executive Secretary and National Coordinator, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed (Kaduna), retired Brig. Gen. Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali (Zamfara), former Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon. Bawa Bwari (Niger), Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama (Enugu) and Pastor Usani Usani Uguru (Cross River).
The remaining five nominees likely to be screened today are Prof. Anthony Anwuka, Ms Aisha Abubakar, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Mr. Muhammadu Bello and Mr. Adamu Adamu.
However, it was the screening of the Cross River State nominee, Pastor Uguru that drew the ire of some senators for they considered it to be “an offensive statement”.
Uguru was mentioning the names of some senators, mostly from the All Progressives Congress (APC), with who he traversed the country during the last campaigns, when one of the senators asked him: “Were you interacting with the PDP too?” to which he replied “God forbid!”
Immediately, the Senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, raised an objection to the nominee’s statement.
Coming under a point of order, Akpabio described Uguru’s statement as derogatory to PDP members.
Other PDP senators joined him in faulting the nominees’ utterance.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia South) declared that the nominee did not submit his assets declaration papers along with his documents in violation of one of the rules set for the nominees.
Senator Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP Abia North) also raised issues with Uguru’s tax papers. Waving the tax papers, Ohuabunwa said the nominee obtained his tax clearance certificates for three years in one day.
The implication of this, Senator Ohuabunwa pointed out, is that the nominee was not paying his tax as at when due and as such, should be disqualified.
But Senate Leader Ali Ndume, came to the nominee’s rescue when he cited the 5th Schedule of the Constitution to back Uguru’s action.
Ndume said by virtue of the provisions in that Schedule, a public office holder may submit his assets declaration papers before taking appointment, or within 30 days after taking office.
But many other senators still complained about Uguru’s “God forbid” phrase, and were in the process of pushing their grievances further when the Senate President, Dr, Bukola Saraki, doused the tension.
Turning to the visibly ruffled Uguru, the Senate president motioned to him to apologise to the PDP senators.
A contrite Uguru then said: “I am extremely sorry”. But that singular moment of indiscretion set the tone for the remainder of his screening as he never regained his composure thereafter.
National Broadcast: PDP Slams Buhari Over ‘Disappointing, Empty’ Speech – PDP
Recall that Buhari in his speech called for an end to the protest, adding that his government had already accepted and started implementing demands of the protesters.
He, however, failed to acknowledge the shooting of protesters by soldiers of the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday night.
Reacting in a statement on Thursday night by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbodinyan, the PDP said Buhari’s address was depressing and failed empathy test.
The party appealed to Nigerians, particularly the youth, to remain calm and allow a return to normal life in the collective quest for peaceful co-existence in the overall interest of the nation.
PDP Asks Buhari To Stop Killing Of #EndSARS Protesters Across Nigeria
This was contained in a statement titled “EndSARS- Lekki Massacre,” signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, late on Tuesday.
Ologbodiyan said, “The Peoples Democratic Party, condemns in very strong terms, the killing of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos as well as other parts of our country.
“It is shocking that security agents and, in some cases, thugs, were reportedly deployed to end the lives of promising Nigerians. This, to say the least, is saddening.
“Those responsible for the heinous murder of the innocent and harmless Nigerians must account for their nefarious acts.
“The PDP calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately direct an end to these wanton killings across our nation.
#EndSARS: Gov Bello Warns Protesters Against Overthrowing Buhari
He stated this during an interview with Africa Independent Television AIT on Monday night.
Bello called on his fellow state governors to tack charge in their respective states so as to prevent loss of lives and properties due to attacks by hoodlums.
He, however, warned Nigerian youths to resist the temptation of using the current situation in the country to seek an undemocratic change in leadership.
The Governor warned that those interested in the presidency must wait till 2023 and go through democratic processes.
He urged the protesting youths to leave the streets and embrace dialogue.
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