The controversy over the screening of Rotimi Amaechi deepened yesterday, October 22, as the exercise left senators belonging to the Peoples Democratic Party alleging betrayal.
The Punch reports that the PDP senators alleged that senators belonging to the All Progressives Congress (APC) betrayed the agreement they had not to screen the former governor of Rivers state given the report of the panel that investigated the petitions against him.
Before the plenary began, the Senate had met in closed-door session when Sam Anyanwu, chairman of the ethics, privileges and public petitions committee, laid the report of his committee regarding the nomination of Amaechi on the mace table.
A PDP senator who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “During the closed session, chairman of the ethics committee, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, briefed us on the report and indicated that the committee reported that the issue regarding Amaechi’s petition was in court and that the Senate should suspend action on his screening, pending the resolution of the court issues.”
It was gathered that the APC senators had pleaded with their colleagues in the PDP during the closed session to allow Amaechi to be screened while the debate of the report of the ethics committee continued.
The PDP senators were also said to have agreed to the suspension of the debate on the report of the ethics committee only if their APC colleagues would also ask the Rivers nominee to take a bow and go so as not to “cause controversy.”
Another senator alleged that all the senators at the closed session reached an agreement that those belonging to the PDP would insist on not having anything to do with Amaechi, while their APC colleagues also agreed that they would only ask the nominee to only “take a bow and go.”
The senator said they were surprised when the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the other APC senators did not keep to the agreement and started asking Amaechi questions.
At the screening, the opposition senators refused to partake in the quizzing of Amaechi, as they felt betrayed.
Godswill Akpabio, the minority leader explained that his members would not participate in the screening of Amaechi until the outcome of his court case.
He said: “My point of order is under Order 43. The PDP senators seated here will not have any question for the nominee because we have just received the report of the ethics committee bordering on corruption and all sorts of things from the Senator Anyanwu committee and we have not debated that report at all. So, we have little or nothing to ask the nominee.”
After speaking, he asked his PDP colleagues whether he had spoken their minds and they responded in the affirmative.
However, the PDP senators have threatened to oppose Amaechi’s confirmation when the time comes.
After Amaechi’s screening, he was received by a crowd of supporters from different tribes at the lobby. They kept chanting his name in excitement.
Reactions have been pouring in over his ministerial screening. Some are disappointed with the way the PDP senators went dumb and didn’t ask any questions while others have making jest of Amaechi who said he has never received bribe in his life.
The APC heartily congratulated the ex-governor for the excellent way he acquitted himself when he finally appeared before the upper chamber for screening as a ministerial nominee.