Since the beginning of the past week, the Nigerian Senate has been involved in the ministerial screening of two batches of ministerial nominees sent by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Among the nominees is the former governor of Rivers state and the All Progressive Congress (APC) campaign director during the March 28 presidential elections, Rotimi Amaechi.
But since the commencement of the exercise, the Senate has twice boycotted Amaechi’s screening.
This could be based on various reasons:
1. Lack of support from Rivers state senators
Some days back, three senators from Rivers state, George Sekibo, Olaka Nwogu and Osinachukwu Ideozu, had opposed the clearance of Amaechi with a petition laid before the Senate by Sekibo.
The senators from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) backed their opposition on the Senate home support rule necessary for the clearance of a ministerial nominee.
But the senate spokesperson, Senator Dino Malaye, said that the home support rule is less sacrosanct, meaning that the former governor still has a chance to be screened.
2. Petitions against Amaechi
Having taken over from his predecessor as the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike has made several allegations on Amaechi.
Subsequently, the allegations bordering on corruption and misappropriation of state’s fund have followed up by a petition against the former governor by an Integrity group.
The group wrote to the senate saying that Amaechi is yet to answer questions on the allegations leveled against him in the state.
On deferring of his screening, the senate committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions said the committee could not meet up with the submission of its report due to the delayed plenary adjournment.
Nigerians are also hopeful that on the resumption of screening, Amaechi will be screened alongside other nominees.
3. Ameachi’s fight with the former first lady Patience Jonathan
Before the end of the past administration’s tenure, Amaechi went into misunderstanding with Patience Jonathan. This misunderstanding started after the former president Goodluck Jonathan announced Plateau state’s Jonah Jang as the chairman of the Nigerian governor’s forum over Amaechi who floored Jang with three votes.
This crisis was later taken over by Evan Bipi, a Rivers state house of assembly lawmaker, in favour of the former first lady.
The crisis led to Amaechi’s romance with the APC and subsequently earning him the title: “the most controversial governor”.
He later officially defected from the-then ruling PDP to the APC.
4. Dwindling popularity
Since the inauguration of the Buhari-led administration, Amaechi has failed to be in the news as compared to his days as the most controversial governor. This trend has also dwindled as the former governor rarely made an appearance in the news until the allegations against him by Wike emerged and also his nomination as a minister by the president.
Meanwhile, since the screening exercise, the former governor has written three letters to the senate pleading innocence of the allegations against him. The former governor said that all the allegations against him by his state senators and his predecessors are false.
He also said the essence of the allegation is to tarnish his image and to solely irritate, embarrass and bedevil his hard-earned reputation.