A mild drama played out on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday when the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, switched off the public address system attached to Senator Rochas Okorocha (APC Imo West) during the screening of ministerial nominees
Lawan’s action followed an attempt by Senator Okorocha to interrogate one of the Ministerial nominees, Goodluck Nana Opiah representing Imo State.
Okorocha however in a shouting match demanded to know why Lawan will give another senator, Francis Onyewuchi Ezennwa chance to speak and would not allow him.
Lawan may have acted on the belief that Okorocha was going to bring up issues against the nominee based on his differences with Governor Hope Uzodima.
Uzodima and Okorocha have been in disagreement over issues that have to do with how he allegedly mismanaged the State for which he had been invited by the antigraft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
Countering Okorocha’s appeal to question the nominee, the Senate President cautioned him not to go against the agreement reached by the senate during the Closed-Door session.
Shortly after his screening, the nominee now Minister Designate told journalists at the National Assembly that there was no ‘bad blood’ between him and Senator Okorocha, insisting however, that the former governor meant well.
“There is no bad blood between me and Senator Okorocha. What happened on the floor of the Senate today is an extension of that kind of rumour.
“I can tell you that Senator Rochas Okorocha meant well. I think he wanted to add his voice to my nomination.
I have heard a series of telephone conversations with him before today. And there is no indication that he was going to oppose my nomination,” Hon. Opiah said.
The minister designate also said that he would put all arsenals together to make a mark in the Federal Executive Council.
“I will do everything using the knowledge I had garnered both in the private and public sectors over the years to add my support to those of my colleagues, members of the Federal Executive Council.
“This is to ensure that we move this country forward with a view to finding solutions to the problems facing our dear country.”
In the short period he would have as a minister to make a mark, the nominee said that “In governance, an hour means forever. And so if I have one week, one month, or one year I think I will put all my arsenals together to leave a mark wherever I will be.”
Opiah further said that as a former member of the House of Representatives, he was happy to be screened by the Senate.
“I feel like being back home as a member of the national assembly. I have come to meet the old colleagues, most of them staff of the national assembly.
“I feel overwhelmed by the level of cooperation between the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“What happened earlier in the Red Chamber is an indication of the serious partnership between the Green and Red chambers.
“That is very commendable. We must do everything within our powers to encourage that partnership to continue to happen. It should be sustained if not deepened.
“I’m very happy to be nominated as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I thank Mr President for finding me worthy of this nomination,” he said.
Opiah was a former Speaker Imo State House of Assembly and former member representing Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta, Oru West in the Federal House of Representative.
He is currently the Commissioner for Petroleum Resources, Imo.
Others confirmed by the Senate included Ikoh Ikechukwu; Abia, Umana Umana; Akwa-Ibom, Ekumankama Nkama; Ebonyi.
Others are Umar El-Yakub; Kano, Ademola Adegoroye; Ondo and Odum Udi (Rivers).