- The Senate has made a U-Turn the confirmation of a presidential aide as a member of the governing board of the NCC
- Though the Senate has not stated the reason for the U-turn, the nominee has alleged that he was rejected on political grounds
- The Senate has criticised Obono-Obla for going to the media without first considering resolving the issue administratively
The Senate has explained why it reversed its confirmation of the special assistant to the president on prosecution as a member of the governing board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Okoi Obono-Obla who is the special assistant to the president on prosecution, attached to the Federal Ministry of Justice was rejected by the Senate after the nominee had earlier been confirmed by the upper chamber.
Though the upper chamber of the National Assembly has not stated the reason for the U-turn on Obono-Obla’s confirmation, the nominee has alleged that he was rejected on political grounds, The Punch reports.
Obono-Obla was among the five nominees by President Muhammadu Buhari, whose nomination was approved by the Senate on November 17, 2016, while two of the nominees were dropped.
The Senate committee on communications, which screened the NCC board nominees, had recommended that Obono-Obla’s nomination be confirmed by the Senate.
But Obono-Obla’s name was, however, missing in a letter transmitted to Buhari as one of those confirmed by the legislature.
His rejection was confirmed in the letter dated November 22 and signed by the president of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Monday, November 28, in Abuja, as one of the three whose nominations were rejected by the Senate.
Abdullahi, the chairman of the Senate committee on media and public affairs, reacting to reports on the rejection of the presidential aide, criticised Obono-Obla for going to the media without first considering resolving the issue administratively.
He said: “Who confirmed him? Who said he was confirmed? If he wants to go to the media with his complaint, let him go. I believe that there is a procedure and he is not just an ordinary citizen; he is an SSA to Mr. President right now.
“My thought is: if he is an employee of the executive and there is an issue, he should follow it administratively. But if every single thing that happens administratively is being turned into a media war, I wish him good luck.
“If there is an issue (between the executive and the legislature), that is why we have the SSAs to the President on National Assembly Matters. Has he followed the administrative procedure and exhausted it? Why must everything being done be turned into a media war? Is that the art of governance?
“We don’t do things without a reason and if we have done something, the right is also reserved like any other person has the right reserved to them with respect to their duties and performance," Abdullahi said.
It was however learnt that the Senate made a U-turn on Obono-Obla’s confirmation based on a point of order raised by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Baba Garba, on November 22, in which he told the lawmakers that the nominee was not confirmed contrary to the earlier position of the Senate.
Before lawmakers proceed with a plenary, the votes and proceedings of the previous legislative day will first be approved by the chamber.
Saraki asked the secretariat to note the point of order made by Garba.
Earlier, Obono-Obla had a stormy encounter with the senators during the prosecution of Saraki, and the deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, for alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Rules.
Obono-Obla, on June 30, 2016, represented the minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), after the lawmakers had summoned the minister who recommended the prosecution of the Senate leaders and pressed charges against them.
In another development, the Nigerian Senate has waded into the increase in data services by telecommunications companies in the country.
Senate President Bukola Saraki confirmed on Tuesday, November 29, that the upper house of legislature will step into the matter.
Saraki made the confirmation on his verified Twitter in reply to a plea by a follower that the House look into the matter.
In what also further confirms the Senate’s resolve to look into the matter, outspoken senator representing Kaduna central Shehu Sani slammed the increase on his social media accounts on Tuesday morning.
He noted that the increase was just about extorting Nigerians.