Obono-Obla: Senate Daggers NCC Nominee

The rejection of the nomination of Okoi Obono-Obla, Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution, as a non-executive Commissioner representing the South-South geo-political zone in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), was the unilateral decision of Senate President Bukola Saraki. This was disclosed to SaharaReporters by sources in the Senate.

On August 3, Mr. Obono-Obla’s and others were nominated for appointment to the NCC Board. The nominees’ names were subsequently forwarded to the Senate for screening and confirmation by the Senate Committee on Communications. He scaled the hurdle of screening Senate for confirmation on 19 October. 

On  November 17, when Senator Gilbert Emeka Nnaji, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Communications, presented the report of the committee before the Senate Plenary Session, it showed those cleared as Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye (Chairman), Mr. Sunday Dare (Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management), Mr. Clement Omeiza Baiye (Non-Executive Commissioner); Senator Ifeanyi Ararume (Non-Executive Commissioner) and Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla (Non-Executive Commissioner). 

The committee rejected the nominations of Mr. Aliyu Saidu Abubakar because he was accused of advocating the abrogation of the Nigerian Senate and Pastor Ezekiel Yissa provided vague reasons.

 The confirmation and rejection exercise were captured in the Votes and Proceedings of the Senate (Pages 880-891) of Thursday,  November 17th, 2016, and widely reported in the media the next day.

Bizarrely, though, the Senate President unilaterally overturned Obono-Obla’s confirmation. In a letter dated November 22 and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Saraki falsely included Mr. Obono-Obla’s name among those rejected. These were Messrs. Aliyu Saidu Abubakar and Pastor Ezekiel Yissa. The letter was titled “Confirmation of Appointments”.

SaharaReporters gathered that after the confirmation of Obono-Obla, Senator Saraki was heavily pressured by Senators John Owan Eno (Cross River Central) and Gershom Bassey (Cross River South), both of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to remove Obono-Obla’s name from the confirmation list.

Sources said Saraki assured the duo that he would do as they wished and transmitted such to the President.  

The two senators told a lie which suited Senator Saraki’s vendetta instincts that Obono-Obla, who hails from Cross River State, is one of those at the President’s office behind the Senate President’s legal travails. Sources in the Senate, however, argue that the Senate President has no power to unilaterally revoke the confirmation of a presidential nominee by the Senate.

 A senator told SaharaReporters on the condition of anonymity that once a presidential nominee has been confirmed by the Senate, such nominee can only be removed by the President on the ground of misconduct, but with the concurrence of other Senators.

Culled from saharareporters.com

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