The immediate Governor of Rivers State Rotimi Amaechi was Thursday screened by the Nigerian Senate as a ministerial nominee.
He was the first of the six nominees slated for screening Thursday but only five were eventually screened. Amaechi was followed by Senator Heineken Lokpobiri from Bayelsa, Prof. Cladius Omoleye Daramola from Ondo, Mustapha Baba Shehuri and James E. Ocholi (SAN) from Kogi State in that order.
Amaechi spent about 50 minutes answering questions bordering on various issues, especially his alleged indictment by a panel set up by the Rivers State Government, for corruption, insisting that he was never indicted and dangled the report before the Senate.
The Senate Ethics committee report that delayed his screening on three occasions, was presented to the senate by Senator Chris Anyanwu, head of the committee, before Amaechi?s screening began following a motion moved by the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume and seconded by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume had hinted Wednesday that the report may not necessarily hinder the exercise and that APC senators are prepared to support Amaechi. The APC has a clear majority in the Senate.
Amaechi arrived the Senate in company of the presidential senior assistant on National Assembly matters, Senator Ita Enang, the Rivers state All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the last election Dakuku Peterside among others.
Amaechi dazzled the Senate and even disarmed the Senators with answers to the questions he asked, evoking laughter throughout. He was not combative, neither were the lawmakers.
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio from Akwa Ibom had earlier said the PDP caucus in the Senate did not have any questions for Amaechi.
Only APC Senators asked Amaechi questions bordering on various national issues and he answered all in a convivial atmosphere.
Amaechi?s name had been dropped from the screening list of ministerial nominees by senate three times in the past two weeks over a petition against him for alleged corruption.
Senator Heineken Lopkobiri from Bayelsa State was the next to be screened and he answered only a few questions before he was asked to take a bow.
Ocholi spent more time answering a barrage of questions bordering on the judiciary, prison congestion, criminal justice system and so on, than other nominees screened Thursday.
After Ocholi?s turn, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, adjourned further screening of other nominees till Tuesday, 27 October, 2015.
Altogether, 25 of the 36 ministerial nominees have been screened.