A Ministerial Nominee Apologizes To PDP For Uncomplimentary Remark Against It As Another Messes Up The National Pledge During Screening At The Senate
Fearing rejection, a ministerial nominee, Pastor Usani Usani Uguru, who had once served at the National Copyright Commission during Peoples Democracy Party’s leadership of the country, quickly retracted his negative comment against the party and tendered an apology.
This is as Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Zainab Ahmed, also caused a stir before the Senate when she failed to appropriately recited the National Pledge.
Ahmed, one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees, messed up the Pledge when she was asked to
recite it by one of the senators.
On the second line of the Pledge, Ahmed said: “To be loyal, honest and faithful”, instead of “To be faithful, loyal
and honest”. While answering questions, Ahmed, who noted that the oil and gas sector has a lot of leakages, observed that the management of domestic crude is poor.
“The GMD of NNPC has started tackling the problems. We don’t have the capacity to determine the accuracy of invoices raised for us by the joint venture partners. We should revisit joint operating arrangement and review them. NEITI has blown whistle in respect of unremitted funds by the NNPC,” she said.
She also spoke on what she would do for the sustenance of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“What we need to do is to stay and implement what we are committed in terms of realising the MDGs. We have made progress with some of the goals, but in some areas, especially in education and health, we are very backward. We need to go back to the drawing table, we need to assess what we have done, we need to identify the gaps and quickly make plans on how to bring up our attainment of the MDGs,” she said.
Uguru had, while responding to comments by some All Progressives Congress (APC) senators on whether he had anything to do with PDP members, said “God forbids”.
Without wasting time, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, cited Order 14 of the Senate Standing Rule, pointing out that the privileges of PDP had been breached by Uguru’s remarks.
Akpabio noted that it was unfortunate that Uguru could see the PDP as a forbidden thing long, after he had served the PDP administration as a commissioner in the National Copyright Commission (NCC).
Akpabio further stressed that many current senators, including the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola
Saraki, were once in the PDP before defecting to the APC.
In a bid to halt the tension that was rising as a result of the matter, Saraki urged Akpabio to take his seat, adding that his point had been made and noted.
Saraki, however, quickly turned to the nominee, and asked for his reaction. Uguru said: “I am extremely sorry”.
But it was not yet Uhuru for Uguru, whose problems multiplied, as the PDP senators took their turns to expose the loop holes in his resume.
Raising another point of order, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, drew the attention of his colleagues that the nominee did not comply with the law on tax payment.
Ohuabunwa revealed that Uguru’s tax clearance as contained in his curriculum vitae were obtained on the same day.
“All the tax clearance the man submitted to the Senate are obtained on the same day, the same date and at the same time. Mr. Senate President, we should not ignore this. We should find out why tax clearance for a number of years were obtained on the same day and submitted to the Senate. I am a Christian, and this is submitted by a Pastor not a Malam. And we as Senate should not ignore this anomaly,” he noted.
Saraki, however, ruled Ohuabunwa out of order, pointing out that he ought to have put it as a question to the nominee.
Before the end of Uguru’s screening, the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, and Senator Ehinnanya Abaribe openly disagreed over Uguru’s alleged non-compliance with the law on asset declaration.
Abaribe had drawn the attention of the Senate to the fact that Uguru’s had not complied with the Section 120 of the Senate rule, which states that no nominee would be confirmed until he had shown proof of compliance with the asset declaration law.
But Ndume rose in disagreement explaining that the nominee could declare his assets even after confirmation by the Senate.
Meanwhile, another nominee, Brig. Gen. Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali, played down on the December deadline given by Buhari to end the reign of Boko Haram.
“December target for Boko Haram is just a timeline, which is a military tradition. There are four indices for tackling terrorism. They are: political, economic, security and information sharing,” he said.
– Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja