Tony Ita Etim in Port Harcourt reports on the row between the ruling PDP and opposition APC over nomination of former Governor Rotimi Amaechi as minister
The suspension of the screening of former Governor Rotimi Amaechi as ministerial nominee by the Senate hit the Rivers State capital with jubilation by his nemesis, the state Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and studied optimism by his supporters in the opposition APC.
Only yesterday the PDP had declared that Ama e c h i was unqualified to be appointed as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The condemnation was contained in a press statement signed by Jerry Needam, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity o the state PDP chairman, Brother Felix Obuah. According to the PDP, “This is consequent upon the fact that the combined effect of Sections 66 (1) and 147 (5) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and read together, disqualifies Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers State from becoming a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The party pointed out that “Section 66 (1) (h) states thus: “No person shall be qualified for election to the Senate or the House of Representatives if he has been indicted for embezzlement or fraud by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry or a Tribunal set up under the Tribunal of Inquiry Act or a Tribunal of Inquiry Law or any law by the Federal Republic of Nigeria or State Government which indictment has been accepted by the Federal or State Government respectively”.
Furthermore, the PDP continued that “Section 147 (5) states thus: “No person shall be appointed as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives. “Suffice it to hold that Section 147 (5) as spelt out above unequivocally states that what qualifies or disqualifies a member of the House of Representatives applies to a Ministerial Nominee, for which former governor Chibuike Amaechi is one.” The PDP maintain “that Hon. Justice George Omereji Judicial Commission of Inquiry indicted Mr. Rotimi Amaechi,and the report is accepted by the Rivers State Government and the White Paper duly issued.
“Against this background therefore, the PDP further insists and submits that by the provisions of the law as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi is not qualified to be a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” But for the State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Amaechi should be among the few who should be given special consideration by the Senate during the screening of ministerial nominees. The party in Port Harcourt through the State Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, had commended the Senate for the decision to be thorough in the forthcoming screening exercise but appealed to it not to totally discard the tradition of asking deserving ones to take a bow and go.