OrderPaperToday – The Senate on Wednesday confirmed the nomination of Olanipkekun Olukoyede for appointment as Secretary of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
His confirmation was not without controversy as two members of the screening committee, Senator Isah Misau (PDP, Bauchi) and Senator Dino Melaye (PDP, Kogi) accused the Committee Chairman, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu) of having a hidden interest and taking a “short cut” in the confirmation of the candidate.
It would be recalled that yesterday, Senate President Bukola Saraki directed the Chairman Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes to meet with members and reach a conclusion on the confirmation of Olukoyede ahead of today’s plenary.
Saraki gave the directive after Senator Isah Misau alleged that members were not sufficiently carried along in the screening process and preparation of the report.
When the matter came up today, Senator Misau insisted that members did not meet yesterday as instructed and as such, the confirmation should remain halted to allow for a review for petitions against Olukoyede.
His words: “There was a resolution of the Senate yesterday for the Committee to sit down and look at the report so it can be considered today. Senators Dino, Matthew, Monsurat, Mustapha are members of this committee. All of us are waiting to be called to deliberate on this report. We know that there are so many petitions concerning this nominee who is going to hold a very sensitive office in the EFCC.
“I think it not right for us to just do a short cut in screening this individual. The rights of the committee members should be considered. If there is any petition against this man, let us look at it.
“Why are we avoiding the screening of this man? What is the interest? If the EFCC can do investigation on individuals, why can’t we perform our own rights?”
Reacting, Senator Utazi described Misau as an absentee during the screening process and that the Bauchi Central Senator is merely trying to mislead the red chamber.
“I’m not given to giving response to trivialities and frivolities in this Senate,” he started.
Utazi continued: “The quorum of our committee is three. We gave notice of meeting on 24th of October. I sent it to the member who is trying to mislead this chamber; it was also on the Order Paper of that day.
“On the day we were going for this screening, I also informed our colleagues but when we got there, only three people were there. We did the business of the Committee, concluded our activities and came up with a report which we have here.
“Yesterday, I brought it up, the member who was absent, stopped the meeting. He was never there. We have a report here, let the Senate do the needful and consider what we have done here.”
Senator Dino Melaye however swiftly rose to the defence of Misau stressing that the resolution of the Senate for the committee to meet yesterday was not obeyed and it will be improper to proceed with the confirmation.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu intervened in the emerging face-off by suggesting that the confirmation of the nominee should be put to a voice vote for the majority to have their way.
The recommendation of Ekweremadu was adopted by the Senate eventually paving the way for the confirmation of Olanipkekun Olukoyede for appointment as Secretary of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).