The Nigerian Senate has again postponed the ministerial screening of former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi.
The Senate is using Amaechi’s screening for blackmail
Amaechi was initially meant to be screened on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 along with nine other nominees. His appearance was however postponed due to the inability of the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to submit its report on a petition against him.
Chairman, Sam Anyanwu explained that the committee members had been ‘too tired’ to meet after plenary on Tuesday, 13.
He however promised that the report would be submitted on October 15, to facilitate Amaechi’s screening on the same day.
Since then the Senate has shifted the former governor’s screening three times despite the committee’s decision that the petition could not stop his confirmation as minister.
The legislative chamber’s behaviour is cause for suspicion especially because of President, Bukola Saraki’s pending case at the Code of Conduct Tribuna.
Saraki had earlier said that his trial was the handiwork of “powerful people” a statement believed to be in reference to All Progressives Congress (APC) leader, Bola Tinubu.
“Meanwhile, I wish to reiterate my remarks before the Tribunal, that I have no iota of doubt that I am on trial today because I am the president of the Nigerian Senate, against the wishes of some powerful individuals outside this Chambers,” he said while addressing the Senate on September 29.
The Senate President has been at loggerheads with Tinubu and the APC since he snatched the position with the help of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in June.
Saraki’s trial is indeed fishy because it is based on assets he declared, or failed to declare, while he was governor of Kwara State, a position he assumed in 2003 and vacated in 2011.
Tinubu, on his part, has made no attempt to hide the animosity between himself and the Senate President. The APC leader has described Saraki as disloyal adding that he (Tinubu) had also been accused of asset declaration fraud in the past.
The silent battle between Saraki and Tinubu is all the more reason why the continued delay of Amaechi’s screening seems like a power-play. Amaechi is a very important member of the APC hence depriving him of a ministerial position would be a big blow to the party and Tinubu.
The Senate understands this and is now using the former governor as bait to sustain Saraki’s Presidency which the APC seems determined to terminate.
Unfortunately for Tinubu, removing a Senate President, especially one who enjoys as much support as Saraki, is no easy feat.
The APC leader needs to realize that politics is more a game of wits than of power and in this particular version of the game, he’s been beaten. Tinubu also needs to accept Saraki’s Senate Presidency, hard though it may be, and stop holding the country to ransom with petty squabbles.
Until then, let the games continue.
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