The screening of a ministerial nominee, Festus Keyamo caused a rowdy session in the Senate. Keyamo who served as a minister of State for Labour and Employment under former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration appeared before the Senate to be screened for a new position under President Bola Tinubu.
But things went sour when Darlington Nwokocha ( LP, Abia Central), moved the motion requesting the suspension of the nominee’s screening.
What happened at the Senate today?
Nwokocha reminded Keyamo of how he insulted the lawmakers from both chambers during his tenure as a minister.
He also highlighted corruption charges levelled against the nominee and how he ignored the National Assembly summons in 2020 over the employment scheme of 774,000 Nigerians recruited for the special public works programme.
Senator Nwokocha said, “I move that we suspend forthwith screening of the nomination and wait until when this is cleared.” The motion was thereafter seconded by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, ( APGA, Abia South).
The President of the Senate reacts
The President of the Senate, GodsWill Akpabio, put the motion to a voice vote after the first, and this time, the lawmakers responded in a disorderly manner, collectively shouting “no” and “yes”.
This argument made some lawmakers call for division, a decision which once taken might water down the power of the Senate President. The division is a parliamentary term that means that lawmakers physically take sides with any of the votes either in favour of Yay or Nay.
Akpabio who was visibly troubled, then stood up and called for order. According to the Senate Standing Orders, when the Senate President stands, every other lawmaker must sit.
This came after Keyamo noted that he had given up hope. Addressing the lawmakers, Keyamo said, “In fact, why I said I give all the glory and adoration to God is that on Friday, when my name was announced on this floor, my bags and baggage were already packed with that of my family; we were going on a short vacation. I had given up any hope to be here when all of a sudden they said my name has been announced.”
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