OrderPaperToday – Senator Victor Umeh (APGA, Anambra) has risen to the defence of his colleague, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu) who chaired the screening Committee that recommended the confirmation of of Ndasule Moses, Lawan Mamman, Galadanci Najib, and Adeleke Rafiu as members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The recommendation of the Committee was immersed in controversy following accusations of lop-sidedness levelled by Senators mostly from the South East who observed that the region and the South South had been left out by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) pointed accusing fingers at Utazi who hails from the South East for recommending the nominees for confirmation when he was fully aware that his region had been left out.
Ndume’s contribution threw the red chamber into a rowdy session as Utazi was in the eye of a confirmation storm for the second time in two weeks.
Speaking on the matter at a press briefing after plenary, Senator Umeh who led the objection to the confirmation of the four nominees, absolved Utazi of any blame saying the situation was beyond his control.
He revealed that as Chairman of the Committee, Utazi noted the irregularity of the nomination but had to succumb to the wishes of majority of Committee members who pushed for the confirmation of the nominees.
He further praised Utazi for noting the lop-sidedness in his report which was presented on the floor today.
According to Umeh, “Utazi didn’t do anything wrong. He served as the Chairman of the Committee and at the committee level, I am sure he raised this issue. However, this is a parliament and our rules are the same whether in plenary or at the committee level; when a greater number of people say let’s go on and present the report (he has no choice).
“Nevertheless, he was able to put in a clause in the report that three of the nominees are from Kogi (North Central), North West and North East while one is from the Southwest. He also said it is not in accord with the provisions of the constitution for federal character.
“So he put it there but the members of the committee muscled it through to plenary.”
Speaking further, Umeh described the suspension of the confirmation of Ndasule Moses, Lawan Mamman, Galadanci Najib, and Adeleke Rafiu as members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as “victory for representative democracy”. He however, stressed that he has nothing personal against the nominees praising their experience and professionalism.
The Anambra Senator was however quiet on the next move of the Senate over the Electoral Amendment Bill which was recently vetoed by President Buhari, simply stating that “it will continue to undergo further legislative action”.