There was a mild drama at plenary on Monday when a Senator representing Abia Central Senatorial District, Darlington Nwokocha moved a motion to stop the screening of a ministerial nominee from Delta State, Festus Keyamo.
Nwokocha’s motion was seconded by his colleague from Abia-South Senatorial District, Enyinnaya Abaribe.
Senate President, Godswill Akpabio thereafter subjected the motion to a voice vote but the lawmakers were divided on the matter.
The senate entered a rowdy session over the development after the house Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele moved a motion that the Senators goes into executive session to resolve the impasse.
The wish was granted as Senate President, Akpabio adjourns the session into closed-door to reconvene after one hour.
Keyamo, who praised the Senators in his introductory remarks, said he had already given up on being a minister again, but at the last minute on Friday, President Tinubu submitted his name for ministerial appointment.
“I have already given up, packed my bags to travel for a vacation with my family before my name was announced on Friday,” Keyamo said while acknowledging the fact that he had issues with Senator Godiya Akwashiki from Nasarawa State, in the last Assembly but that they are now best of allies.
But, Senator Nwokocha (LP, Abia Central), rose based on Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution, that Keyamo’s nomination should be stepped down because he refused to honour a previous National Assembly’s invitation that he was not answerable to lawmakers.
The Senator said: “Sometime in 2020, the issue of the Public Works Programme came up with N20,000 to be given to 1,000 people in the 777 local governments.
“At a point, we wanted to carry out our responsibility, because we make laws to help the people and we also have the power of oversight.
“The nominee was invited over the N52billion we appropriated. He publicly told all the people that the lawmakers wanted to hijack the process.
“Since he has been running away from here, he is here, it is our responsibility to find out (from Keyamo),” Nwokocha said while moving that Keyamo’s nomination should be put on hold.
Also, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe (APGA, Abia South) seconded the motion moved by Nwokocha, that by the virtue of Section 88b of the Constitution, Keyamo’s screening for ministerial appointment be suspended.
Abaribe said there were implications for deliberately rejecting the summons of both chambers of the National Assembly.
“I support that the screening of this nominee should be stepped down pending when he decides that the National Assembly has the power to inquire from a Minister.”