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Presidency stops swearing-in of ministerial nominee, Orubebe

Posted by From Madu Onuorah, Abuja on 2007/10/26 | Views: 707 |

Presidency stops swearing-in of ministerial nominee, Orubebe


A MINI-DRAMA played out at the State House, Abuja yesterday at the swearing-in of the second set of ministers cleared by the Senate last week.

A MINI-DRAMA played out at the State House, Abuja yesterday at the swearing-in of the second set of ministers cleared by the Senate last week.

One of them, Peter Orubebe, from Delta State was politely asked to leave the Council Chambers venue of the ceremony just before the oaths of allegiance and office were administered to the new cabinet members.

No explanation was given for the development. Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, Orubebe's wife and another admirer were also asked to leave the chambers.

The new ministers and their portfolios are: Ademola Rasaq Seriki, Minister of State, Agriculture (II); Dr. Alhassan Bako Zaku, Minister of State, Science & Technology; Felix Hassan Hyat, Minister of State, Transportation; and Julius Chuka Odom, Minister of State, Housing & Environment.

Orubebe, whose nomination was opposed by some senators during the screening, arrived at the venue early with his wife and Clark. He took a seat among the five reserved for the new ministers.

President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, on entering the chambers, called for the National Anthem, which was followed by the National Pledge.

Then, it was time for the Moslem and Christian prayers.

Simultaneously, a flurry of consultations went on between top officers of the State House and protocol officials.

The protocol officials, as the prayers went on, walked to Orubebe and politely asked him out. A top officer of the State House then led his wife to where Clark sat, praying. They asked him and another friend to get up and come for consultations. Orubebe did not return.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Baba Gana Kingibe, on seeing Orubebe and Clark walk into the tea room of the chambers, immediately conferred with President Yar'Adua before going out to speak briefly with the two.

Later, Clark told reporters that he was convinced that Orubebe would be sworn in at a later date.

Asked if he was embarrassed by the development, Clark gave an emphatic "No."

He said he was assured by "the authorities" that the swearing-in would still be done for his candidate at a later date, describing President Yar'Adua as a man of his words.

According to the Ijaw leader, "he (Orubebe) will be sworn in. There is no date yet but he will be sworn in. You know government issues take some time to clear but I have been assured that he would be sworn in. I am not embarrassed because it happened at the Senate also. He was on number one and he was asked to step down but he was later confirmed. Then he came here. I have confidence in the President that he would do the right thing. He is a listening man, sincere and honest.

"If Mr. President had made investigations and consultations and he nominates somebody, nobody can stop him. In every given situation, there are hurdles to be crossed. We cannot doubt the reasons given by the President that we should wait. So we are waiting," he said.

Asked if the hurdles were being placed by people from his state, Clark quipped: "Yes. People like former governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori, who believes that he is very close to the President and gives the impression that he is at the corridors of power and can do any thing.

"But we know the President is an independent person. He may have his reasons for not swearing him today (yesterday) but he would be sworn in."

In a brief speech after the swearing-in of the four new ministers, President Yar'Adua challenged them to let the oath of office guide their conduct, adding that they had been given the opportunity to bring honour to themselves and the country.

The event was preceded by a minute silence in honour of the late chairman of the House of Representatives, Committee on Health, Dr. Aminu Safana and the late Golden Eaglets Chief Coach, Mr. Yemi Tella.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.