Ekweremadu leads Igbo Senators to protest ‘one-sided’ federal appointments



OrderPaperToday – Senators from the South East led by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu have voiced their dissatisfaction with the appointments of head of agencies by President Muhammadu Buhari, claiming it has been lopsided.

The Deputy Senate President in his remarks on the floor of the Senate today lamented that appointments by the President are “unacceptable” and from a particular zone of the country.

Ekweremadu made the comments after Senate President Bukola Saraki read a letter from the President on board appointments into FERMA which is to be chaired by Tunde Lemo.

“I have a problem with the way government is directing its appointments,” Ekweremadu started.

He continued: “Over the last two or three weeks we have had cause to discuss this FERMA, or the NDIC, or AMCON. The head of all these parastatals have come from one particular part of Nigeria. This is completely unfair; we cannot seat in this Senate and allow that to go on.

“We need to ensure that every part of Nigeria is represented in the running of Nigeria. This completely unacceptable”

The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan in his response played down the comments made by Ekweremadu by urging him to look at the “larger picture”. He expressed conviction that there is no lop-sidedness as propounded by the Deputy Senate President, adding that the Federal Government has done its “homework” to comply with federal character.

The Senate President in his ruling warned against speculations and mandated the Senate Committee on Federal Character to examine the claims of Senator Ekweremadu. He also ruled Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu) out of order after the Enugu Senator requested that the letter on the FERMA nomination be stood down.

Shortly after the ruling of the Senate President, the Senate Leader moved for the confirmation of the nomination of the Chairman (from Katsina State) and Commissioners for another agency, the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC). This again threw the red chamber into a rowdy session as more Igbo Senators joined the fray and revived the earlier controversy stirred by the comment of the Deputy Senate President.

Speaking on the matter, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP, Abia) argued that the confirmation of FCSC should be halted pending the submission of the report by the Committee on Federal Character.

The Senate President nevertheless ruled that the screening of the nominees will continue as scheduled. He however, assured that the screening report will only be considered after the submission of the report by the Committee on federal character next week Tuesday.

However, Senator Chukwuka Utazi in his submission insisted that the screening should be halted.

“If we want to be seen to be doing justice to all parts of the country then we should not continue with the screening. There is injustice already regarding appointments,” he objected.

The Senate President in his remarks reassured that there will be no final confirmation of nominees if the report by the Committee on Federal Character shows lop-sidedness in appointments.

The matter was then laid to rest despite additional protest from Senator Obinna Ogba (PDP, Ebonyi).

The nomination list for FERMA as sent by the President has Tunde Lemo as Chairman and Engr. Nurudeen Rafindadi as Managing Director. The Executive Directors are Bubas Abdullahi, Babagana Muhammed, Shehu Abdullahi, Lauretta Nwagono, Njedu Stanley, and Vincent Kolawole.

The list for screening for FSCS has Dr. Bello Tukur (Katsina) as chairman. The nominated Commissioners are Moses Ngbale (Adamawa), Waziri Ngurno (Borno), Bello Babura (Jigawa), Ahmed Sarna (Kebbi), Iyabode Odulate-Yusuf (Ogun), Shehu Danyaya (Niger), Fatai Adebayo (Oyo), Ejoh Chukwuemeka (Anambra), Joe Poroma (Rivers), Ibrahim Mohammed (Kaduna), AMinu Sheidu (Kogi), and Simon Etim (Akwa-Ibom).




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