- Rowdy session, plenary dissolves into executive session
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
Senate yesterday rejected the nomination of four candidates and nine others by President Muhammadu Buhari for appointment as members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission (ICPC).
Those rejected were: Ndasule Moses, Lawan Mamman, Galadanci Imam Najib and Adeleke Adebayo Rafiu, who are respectively from North West, North East, and North Central. They were rejected by the senate on the ground that the executive failed to comply with Federal Character Act in their appointments.
Those in the ICPC who were also rejected included: Bolaji Owasanye (South West), Grace Chinda (South South), Okolo Titus (South East), Obiora Igwedibia (South East), Olubukola Balogun (south West), Adamu Bello (north West), Hannatu Muhammed (north west), Abdullahi Maikano Saidu (north central), Yahaya Umar Dauda (north central).
The observation for their rejection was raised by senator Victor Umeh, who pointed out that there was no nominee to represent South East and South South, just as he said additional nominees were appointed to represent North West and South West, despite that they are already being represented.
This observation attracted agitation from other senators, especially those from South south and south east. Efforts by the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, to convince the senators that the EFCC and ICPC Acts do not make it compulsory for the President to spread the appointment across the zones of the country, failed.
More altercation and outcry by the senators resulted in a rowdy session, which forced the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to call for a five minutes emergency closed session, during which the senators resolved to reject the nominees for failing to meet with the Federal Character Act.
Presenting the report of the committee, the chairman senate committee on Anti Corruption, Chukwuka Utazi, admitted that the appointment is in bleach of Federal Character principles.
He said out of the four nominees by the President, three are from the North, while only one is from South. According to him, the Chairman of EFCC is already representing north east, while the secretary to the commission, Olanipekun Olukoyede, is already representing the South West.
Briefing journalists after the confirmation report presented by the committee was rejected, Victor Umeh said he raised an observation against the nominees because they did not reflect Federal Character.
He said the committee report captured that the nomination does not comply with the principles of equity and fairness, adding that if the report of the committee was passed, it would have been miscarriage of Justice and against the spirit of oneness.
According to him, it would have shoutout the south east and south south out of an important agency like the EFCC.
Speaking earlier on the report, Ali Ndume, called the attention of the senate that nobody is representing the north east in the ICPC, urging the senate to address the lapses. He cautioned that the appointments must not be seen to be lopsided.
Similarly, Enyinnaya Abaribe, who vehemently opposed the report, said everybody is affected by the injustice, charging them to speak out now or decide to shut their mouths forever.