As the Senate began the process yesterday, the screening of at least three ministerial aspirants was suspended due to, among other things, age forgery and age fabrication.
Seven of the 14 nominees named on the order paper for screening—including Nyesom Wike, the recently-departed governor of Rivers State—were requested to take a bow and leave, while four others were put through the screening process.
Abubakar Momoh, a two-term representative from Edo State’s Etsako Local Government Area, Senator Abubakar Kyari, a former member of the 8th and 9th Senates and the current acting national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator John Enoh, a senator from the 8th Senate, and Abubakar Badaru, the most recent governor of Jigawa State, were among those who were asked to stand and leave.
Former House member and Nigerian Ambassador to Germany since 2017, Amb. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, as well as former Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Nkiru Onyejeocha, who represented the Isuikwuato/ Umunneochi Federal Constituency in Abia State, were also requested to bow and leave.
Prof. Joseph Utsev, who is currently the rector of Federal Polytechnic in Wannune, the hometown of Senator George Akume, the secretary to the government of the federation, had his screening interrupted and he was requested to clarify some points.
Utsev, who hails from Buruku Local Government Area of Benue State, is said to be the candidate of Akume.
The nominee in his resume indicated that he was born in 1980 and finished his primary education in 1989 at the age of nine, thereby drawing the attention of the Senate on how he would be in primary one at the age of three.
The two others were Senator Abubakar Sani Danladi, Taraba, who was alleged to have been banned by the Supreme Court from holding public office for ten years and Bello Mohammed from Sokoto State whose case had to do with his secondary school leaving certificate,
The Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio said that those who had issues would have their cases looked into at the stage of confirmation.
The nominees whose names appeared on the Order Paper, but were not screened included Arch. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa – Katsina State; Chief Uche Geoffrey Nnaji – Enugu State and Stella Erhuvwuoghene Okotete – Delta State
The screening exercise, which commenced at 1.32 pm ended at 6 pm, starting with a two-term of House of Representatives member, Abubakar Momoh from Etsako Local Government Area of Edo State.
Soon after Momoh introduced himself as a former councillor, local government chairman, ex-member, the House of Assembly and a two-time member who represented Etsako federal constituency, he was asked to take a bow and go.
The second to appear before the Senate at the hallowed chamber was the former governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.
Addressing the senators, Wike said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu would not regret nominating me as a minister, describing himself as a performer.
Wike, who noted that he executed and commissioned a series of capital projects across Rivers State when he served as governor, said: “Every day I was commissioning projects. Mr President will not regret nominating me as a minister.”
On his part, Senator Mpigi Barinada PDP, Rivers), said that over five million people from the state supported Wike’s ministerial nomination and urged his colleagues to free him.
Akpabio then asked the former Rivers governor to take a bow and go, following a voice vote.
Even when there were shouts of resistance apparently from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, senators, the Senate president hit the gavel.
Another nominee who appeared at 2.55 pm was Senator Abubakar Kyari, who was in the 8th and 9th Senate and currently occupies the position of acting National Chairman of ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Senator Kyari was asked to take a bow and go as a former senator and the acting national chairman of APC.
The next was the immediate past governor of Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru, followed by a senator in the 8th Senate, Senator John Enoh; then the former Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Nkiru Onyejeocha who represented Isuikwuato/ Umunneochi Federal Constituency, Abia State; former member, House of Representatives and Nigeria Ambassador to Germany, since 2017, Amb. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, who were all asked to take a bow and go.
When the matter of Supreme Court banning him from public office was raised, Senator Abubakar Sani Danladi, who was former acting governor and deputy governor of Taraba State, said: “There was nothing in Appeal Court, they just struck out the case for lack of merit.
” At the Supreme Court, the same thing happened as Mrs Mary Odili said the Federal High Court Jalingo was wrong to have passed the judgment in that manner because when I was a deputy governor in 2007, they used their executive power at that time to nullify me so from Supreme Court, I had to go back to the Federal High Court, Jalingo since the Supreme Court said there was no basis for the Federal High Court,, Jalingo to do that judgement.
“Then the same jurisdiction of the Federal High Court Jalingo now sat on the same judgement and set aside that judgement that is hanging on me.”
Responding, Akpabio said: “The Federal High Court, Jalingo, gave a judgement against you that you were not qualified to contest on the basis of perjury, that you lied on oath in respect of your date of birth, then later the Federal High Court sat on the same matter and cleared you?
“What we are saying is that the moment the Federal High Court gave the first judgement they become Funtus Officio in Law and can no longer sit as appellate court over its own judgement, so you will definitely say what you want to say, we will study this because it is in the interest of Nigeria and it is in public interest, We will give him chance to finish, as soon as he finishes, he can take a bow.”
Senator Danladi continued: “On the same issue , Senator Shaibu Lau took the matter to Federal High Court, Abuja, here sir. The Federal High Court gave me the judgement and he now went to Appeal Court which affirmed the judgement of the Federal High Court.
”He now went to the Supreme Court, the court game me judgement, so there was no judgement from Supreme Court. As I am talking, the Supreme Court is hearing me, there was no judgement. If there is judgement, it is here.”