Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The three Senators from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) representing Akwa-Ibom State in the National Assembly have withdrawn their petition challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of Mr. Lamido Yuguda as Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The Senators namely Bassey Akpan ( Akwa-Ibom North East); Christopher Ekpenyong (Akwa-Ibom North West); and Akon Eyakenyi (Akwa-Ibom South) had challenged Yuguda’s nomination on grounds that the President refused to nominate Mary Uduk from Akwa-Ibom State, who was already serving as Acting Director-General at the Commission.
According to a report of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions presented at plenary on Thursday, the Senators had sought the intervention of the Upper Chamber to ensure that the people of Akwa-Ibom State were not further marginalized in matters of Federal Appointments.
In his presentation, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ayo Akinyelure explained that the three Senators, found it “disheartening that Mary Uduk who was eminently qualified to be appointed DG, SEC, having represented Nigeria at the regional and international bodies such as the West African Capital Market Integration Council (WACMIC) and currently on the board of the International Organization of the Securities Commission (IOSCO), the international standards setter for securities regulation, was neither listed as DH nor as a full-time Commissioner.”
He, however, said following a move by the Committee to investigate the concerns raised by the lawmakers in the petition to the Senate, the Petitioners and Respondents met and resolved the matter.
According to Akinyelure, the resolution between both parties, subsequently led to the withdrawal of the petition by the three lawmakers from Akwa-Ibom State led by Senator Albert Bassey Akpan.
Contributing, Senator Sam Egwu (PDP – Ebonyi North), called on the Federal Government to consider Akwa-Ibom in future appointments in view of the withdrawal of the petition.
Also contributing, Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa (APC – Bauchi North), said the consideration of the report of the Ethics Committee was not necessary as the petitioners had withdrawn the petition.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, however, observed that there was a procedural issue which made it mandatory for the Committee to submit a report to the Senate despite the decision by the petitioners to withdraw the petition in the first place.
Accordingly, the Senate while adopting a resolution by Senator James Manager (PDP – Delta South), resolved that, “Consequent upon the withdrawal of the petition by the petitioner, the matter is hereby taken and withdrawal approved.”
Meanwhile, the Senate on Thursday stepped down the consideration of two reports of the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.
Mid-way through consideration of a report on a petition from DSC Ibrahim Maigari against the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for alleged threat to his life, conspiracy to eliminate him, assault intimidation, torture and unwarranted long detention, Senators were divided as to whether to adopt the committee’s resolution of upholding the dismissal of the petitioner from service or wait for the final position of the Governing Board of the NSCDC on the matter as prescribed by the civil service rules.
In his ruling, the Senate President, said that the matter be stepped down pending a final determination by the Governing board of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in compliance with laid down procedures of civil service rules.
In another instance, the Upper Chamber stepped down consideration of another report on a petition from Finian Tobias Okoro on behalf of 26 other lecturers of the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, whose appointments were allegedly terminated by the University without justifiable cause.
Contributing, the Deputy Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC – Niger North) called for the stepping down of the report to allow the Committee obtain more answers from the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC), and the Federal Ministry of Education to understand the contents of the terms of engagement.
The Senate President while aligning with the lawmaker’s position, ruled that the matter be stepped down pending when the committee is able to have access to the contents of the terms of employment for the dismissed lecturers.