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Bravo! Senator Victor Umeh on EFCC board members debate

By Fred Chukwuelobe

The rowdy session that greeted the Nigerian Senate debate at plenary on Tuesday which followed the failed confirmation bid of board member appointees into the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has come and gone.

However, several takeaways have been deduced including the painful fact that Igbos are their own enemies after all.

The chairman of the Committee that recommended the confirmation of the nominees (which has no South East and South South member) by the Senate is Senator Chukwuka Utazi from Nsukka, Enugu State.

He is a close ally of Senator Ike Ekweremmadu, deputy senate president and the highest Igbo politician today.

Utazi’s committee recommended that the nominees be confirmed. None of those appointed into the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is from the South East. NONE!

Yet, it took Senator Victor Umeh, OFR, from a minority party, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to point this out.

You see why I criticise those calling for Igbo president come 2023? You see why I criticise Ekweremmadu? He’s been in the Senate for donkey years and at a top position. Yet, under him and during the free money grabbing era of Goodluck Jonathan when Igbo dominated the administration, we neither had second Niger Bridge nor any federal roads done.

The news is that following the submission of list of names for confirmation by the Senate into vacant positions in the EFCC and senator Umeh’s objection, the Senate became rowdy and had to go into closed door session.

Shouldn’t the DSP and Utazi be ashamed that even Senator Ndume from Borno criticised the committee headed by an Igbo for not noticing the glaring error before asking the Senate to confirm the list?

According to the story, “the Senate chamber was thrown into a rowdy session as lawmakers disagreed over the confirmation of four new members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The members are Ndasule Moses, Lawan Mamman, Galadanci Najib and Adeleke Adebayo Rafiu.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in July 2016 written to the Senate, seeking confirmation of the nominees as members of the commission.

The chairman of the Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Chukwuka Utazi, had presented a report of the committee to the lawmakers.

He, thereafter, stated that the nominees are fit for the position and recommended that the Senate confirm them.

Before the Senate went into the committee of the whole, Victor Umeh (APGA, Anambra), criticised the report, stating that in all the recent appointments into the commission, the South-east had been “marginalised”.

He explained that while the acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, is from the North-east, the recently confirmed Secretary of the Commission, Olanipkekun Olukoyede, is from the South-west and two of the nominees are from the North.

While accusing the executive of not playing along with the federal character principle, he asked that the report be stood down until the nomination is reviewed – a suggestion that was supported by Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia).

On his part, the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, urged the Senate to go ahead and consider the recommendations of the committee.

Ali Ndume, (APC Borno), thereafter blamed the committee unfortunately headed by a South easterner, for not noticing the error in the report before recommending confirmation.

The chamber was thrown into pandemonium as lawmakers rose from their seats and yelled at each other – rowdiness which lasted for a while.

Effort by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to calm the angry lawmakers was unsuccessful. This prompted the lawmakers to go into a closed-door session”.

Thank you so much, Senator Victor Umeh, OFR.

OHAMADIKE WHEN THEY SEE ONE. WE ARE PROUD OF YOU.

JISIE IKE.

 

*Chukwuelobe, a veteran journalist, wrote in from Lagos via Facebook.

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