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Senate screens Agusto, Odey, Ruma 4 others

Posted by By ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Abuja on 2007/07/12 | Views: 637 |

Senate screens Agusto, Odey, Ruma 4 others


The initial dust raised over the nomination of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Secretary, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, may have settled as the coast appears clear for him, following the decision by the three Senators from his State, Abia to withdraw the initial petition against his nomination.

• Coast appears clear for Maduekwe

The initial dust raised over the nomination of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Secretary, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, may have settled as the coast appears clear for him, following the decision by the three Senators from his State, Abia to withdraw the initial petition against his nomination.

Ojo is billed to appear before the Senate this morning for screening. The Senate had yesterday screened seven out of the first batch of 17 nominees presented to it for screening. The nominees screened are: Dr. Abba Sayyadi Ruma (Katsina), Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi (Osun), Mrs Ekpiwhre Grace (Delta) and Aishatu Jubril Dukku (Gombe).

Others are: PDP’s publicity Secretary, John Ogar Odey ( Cross River ), Bode Agusto ( Lagos ) and Mrs Njeze Fidelia Akubata ( Enugu ), in that order.
Following the resolve by the trio of Senators Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP), Mrs. Nkechi Nwaogu (PDP) and Uche Chukwumerije (PPA) to scuttle the confirmation of Maduekwe as minister on the grounds that his nomination violates the spirit of the constitution, the South-East caucus of the Senators in the Senate met on Tuesday in the home of the leader of the group and deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu to take another look at the objections raised in respect of the PDP’s scribe nomination.

At the meeting, which Daily Sun gathered was attended by emissaries from President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the aggrieved Senators were said to have been assured that the State would be given another slot and the nominee would come from the Ngwa area of the State.

To this end, the caucus was said to have prevailed on the Senators to withdraw their petition and Daily Sun learnt as at press time that the petitioners have agreed to withdraw the said petition, thus giving Maduekwe a soft landing today when he appears before the Senate.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Sun on phone yesterday evening, leader of the caucus and deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said “yes it was true the caucus met over Maduekwe and agreed that the petition against him be dropped. At the meeting, all issues raised were thrashed.”

Meanwhile the Senate has screened seven ministerial nominees. Of all the nominees that appeared before the Senate yesterday for screening, only Dr. Ruma and Bode Agusto were thoroughly scrutinized, with Dr. Ruma spending over an hour standing before the Senators, while Augusto spent exactly two hours and ten minutes providing response to the questions fired at him by the Senators.

Interestingly, all three Senators from Lagos State, Senators Olorunnimbe Mamora, Ganiyu Solomon and Munir Muse, who though are not members of the PDP endorsed the nomination of Agusto, and went ahead to request the Senate to allow him take a bow and go.

But rather than allow the nominee take a bow and go, he was hit with a barrage of questions, ranging from the protest against his nomination by Lagos PDP, the non-implementation of budget, his role as a member of the former President Obasanjo’s Economic team and allegation that he was once arrested over a certain N350 million found in the account of his girl friend.

Although he provided answers to virtually all the questions fired at him, he was shielded by the Senate President, David Mark from responding to the N350 million allegation, with Mark saying “the allegation does not deserve an answer because it has no substance and so should be thrown to the dustbin.”
In responding to some of the questions fired at him, the former Director-General of the Budget office, Agusto who admitted though that he had never been an active politician, that he donated N500, 000 to the campaign of the Lagos PDP governorship candidate, when asked about his contribution to the Lagos PDP.

The Senate adjourned at exactly 5.45 p.m, to continue the screening of ministers today.
Those to appear today are: Ojo Maduekwe (Abia), Aderemi Babalola (Oyo), Ambassador Bagudu Hirse (Plateau), Halima Tayo Alao (Kwara) and Architect Gabriel Adukwu (Kogi).
Others are: former Head of Service, Yayale Ahmed (Bauchi), Igwe Aja-Nwachukwu (Ebonyi), Major-General Godwin Abbe (RTD) ( Edo ), Odein Ajumogobia (Rivers) and Senator James Akpanudoede (Akwa-Ibom), in that order.

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown