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The issue relating to
the non-adherence to the principles of federal character had once again
strolled its head  into the red chamber
after an observation was made as to non-inclusion of an indigene of the federal
capital territory among those nominated  by president Mohammadu Buhari as ministers of
the federal republic of Nigeria
The senator
representing the FCT Philip Aduda raised a point of order to draw the attention
of his colleagues to the exclusion of his constituents from the list.


The senate president,
Lawan, while ruling on the order, called on the executive to look into the
concern raised by Aduda
Not satisfied with the
submission of Lawan, the member representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, raised a constitutional
point of order asking Lawal to direct the executive to recognise the FCT as a
state by appointing an indigene as a minister
When it was the turn of the former minister of transport,
Rotimi Ameachi for his screening it was greeted with rowdiness, protest and
harsh remarks
But Senate President Ahmad Lawan was, however, quick to
remind his colleagues of the extant convention and policy that grant automatic
confirmation to nominees who had served in the national and state assemblies.
Occasional shouts of disapproval were heard from lawmakers
every time the presiding officer tried to clarify the issue.
The chamber became more vociferous when ex-Gombe State
Governor Danjuma Goje drew attention to Order 3 of the Senate Standing Rule
where he contended that those that served in state Houses of Assembly were
never in the group of persons accorded automatic confirmation by the said law.
In
a swift response, Lawan said there was nothing wrong in granting automatic
confirmation to former state lawmakers even when the rule did not allow it.
He
explained that the upper legislative chamber enjoys the privileges of changing
its regulations from time to time.
As
the tension grew, George Thomson Sekibo (PDP: Rivers), raised another point of an order that was barely heard before the senate president diplomatically ruled
him out of order.
But
the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, who was recognised to speak on behalf
of the minority parties, pleaded with Lawan to allow Rivers State legislators
to ask Amaechi some questions, a request that was again turned down.
The
senate president maintained that the policy and convention of granting
automatic confirmation to nominees with the legislative background at the state
level remained valid.
As
the number three citizen tried to persuade colleagues to allow Amaechi to take
a bow and go without going through the rigour of screening, more senators
objected amid the eventual rowdy clearance.
Abaribe
later informed Lawan that members of the Minority Caucus, including those from
Amaechi’s home state of Rivers had messages for him.
The Minority Leader said, “I only want to
state that the Rivers State caucus asked me to pass this message to you that
they expect that you will be a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which
Rivers State is part of; which also means that whatever you can do as  a
minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in making sure that peace is
sustained in Rivers State, that you should please do”.
According to Abaribe, the issue of the controversial neglect
of the eastern corridor of the rail project was agitating the minds of the
people.
He made it clear that Nigerians are
unhappy that while some parts of the country were suffering from infrastructure
decay, the Federal Government was busy extending projects like railway lines to
foreign countries.
Those who have
appeared so far for screening are Uchechukwu Ogah (Abia), Goodwill Akpabio
(Akwa Ibom),  George Akume (Benue),  Ogbonnaya Onu (Ebonyi), 
Emeka Nwajuaba (Imo), Olorunnimbe Mamora (Lagos), Olamilekan Adegbite (Ogun),
Adamu Adamu, Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) and Sharon Ikeazor (Anambra).

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