Senate: We Never Confirmed Obono-Obla as NCC Commissioner

  • Tension in Cross River over non-confirmation of nominee

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Bassey Inyang in Calabar

The Senate monday denied reports in some national dailies that it had dropped one of the nominees of President Muhammadu Buhari as a Non-Executive Commissioner of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) after it initially confirmed him.

The Senate, in a statement by its Chairman, Committee on Media, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, said it was not true that it opted to drop Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla after it earlier confirmed him.
He said a decision of the chamber was never valid until the votes and proceedings of the previous legislative day were approved.

According to him, at the commencement of the legislative session on November 22, 2016, Senator Baba Garbai pointed out an error in the votes and proceedings of the previous legislative session that Obono-Obla was among the nominees confirmed.

Abdullahi said consequent upon the observation, correction was effected, insisting that it was not correct to say that the Senate reversed itself by dropping Obono-Obla after he was confirmed.
Meanwhile, Obono-Obla has accused the parliament of vendetta.

Obla who also accused Senate President Bukola Saraki of anti-party activities, said whereas the Senate had confirmed his nomination along with four others on November 17 , 2016 as one of the non- executive commissioners of the NCC’s governing board, Saraki on the 22nd of this month added his name to the list of rejected nominees via a letter he forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, Saraki’s alleged action against him, was prompted by instigation of senators from his home state, Cross River, whom he said all belong to opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

However, palpable tension has enveloped Cross River State following allegations that two senators from the state were instrumental to the dropping of Obono-Obla from the list of those cleared by the senate to serve as members of the board of NCC.

In a letter sighted by THISDAY dated November 22, and forwarded from the office of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the name of Obono-Obla was listed as one of the three whose nominations were rejected by the senate.
However, Obono-Obla was among the five nominees by the president who were approved by the Senate on November 17, 2016, during the plenary of the whole house.

Those whose nomination were confirmed include Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye (Chairman/Ogun/South-west), Senator Ifeanyi Ararume(Non- Executive Commissioner/Imo/South-east), Sunday Dare (Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management/Oyo/South-west), Okoi Ofem Obono Obla (Non-Executive Commissioner/Cross River/South-south) and Clement Omeiza Baiye (Non-Executive Commissioner/Kogi/North-central).

The senators did not confirm the nominations of Aliyu Abubakar (Non-Executive Commissioner/Bauchi/North-east) and Pastor Ezekiel Yissa (Non-Executive Commissioner/Kwara/North-central).
The dropping of Obono-Obla through which has been viewed as a backdoor decision taken unilaterally by the senate president.

Information gathered by THISDAY indicate that prominent personalities have stepped into the matter to ensure that the action which they described as an abnormally was corrected.
Reacting to the development, Obono-Obla’s lawyer, and member of the constitution and electoral law reforms committee, Chief Utum Eteng, issued a public statement yesterday, calling on all well-meaning people of the state to rise up and condemn the action of the senate.