Senator Ighoyota Amori represents Delta Central in the Senate. In this interview, he spoke on the controversies surrounding the delayed screening of Rotimi Amaechi as a ministerial nominee by the Senate and the death of former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha. Excerpts:
By Joseph Erunke
IS it true that PDP senators are against the screening of Rotimi Amaechi as a ministerial nominee?
The Senate set a rule in line with the Constitution of this country for screening or clearing a candidate or a nominee of Mr President. So when the president, on September 30th, submitted the first list of 21 names, Amaechi’s name was there. We allowed any member of the public who has anything against any of the nominees to submit a petition and based on this, there were several petitions from people.
Those petitions were presented on the floor of the Senate and in keeping with the tradition of the Senate, these petitions were referred to the Ethics and Privileges Committee to examine and report back to the Senate. Some of those petitions have been treated.
Report of the committee
The one from Kaduna and I know another one from somewhere have been treated and they have reported back to the Senate and based on the report of that committee these people have been subjected to screening of the Senate and have been cleared.
But Amaechi’s case assumed this dimension because of the complexity of the petitions against him. When a nominee is having impediments, it’s not something you can rush, because the same Nigerians will condemn the Senate if we rush to clear him. In the case of Amaechi, those impediments are there, the petitions have not been concluded, the ethics and privileges committee is still looking at the petitions. Until they finish their work and turn in their report and the Senate debates the report , we can’t proceed.
In the interim, there are still ministerial nominees of Mr. President that have not been cleared. There is still time and we have even invited members of the public that anybody who has anything against the nominees, please come and say so that by the time the Senate finishes the work, nobody will come and say oh, why did you clear Mr B, when so and so is against the person. Amaechi belongs to that category.
But the insinuation really is that PDP senators mostly from the South are impeding his screening!
Southern senators are not instrumental to what is happening. Let the committee come out with its report then the Senate will now know the next thing to do.
Do you see any link between the death of Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha and reports of alleged plans to resurrect his case in the United Kingdom bordering on corruption?
Alamieyeseigha was a Nigerian who fought for resource control, he is the hero of the Niger Delta, he is the governor general of the Niger Delta and Bayelsa State in particular. He came to this world to play his role and he did very well.
I am in sympathy with his family, I really don’t know what took him but man is born to die. Death may have chosen to take him at the time it took him. There are a lot of stories, whether it was as a result of the so called threat of extradition, which Britain has denied…
DSP had nothing to fear. Of course you have read that the man died a poor man and that he has just one house apart from the house in his village. He didn’t have any house anywhere. But you see, people made a lot of stories about him.
I have had the experience of knowing what the British do once Nigeria delivers any of her citizens to the UK.
They must extract something from him, that is exactly what they used against James Ibori and so, I believe that it’s not something we should pray for. What the British are doing to Nigeria, Nigeria cannot do the same to British citizens. So, Nigerians should properly examine themselves.
It is cheap to just take your citizen and throw to the British government for them to just harass and treat the person anyhow while you cannot do same to a British citizen. Of course, you cannot ask a British citizen to be extradited from the UK to come and face trial in Nigeria. So, it’s a shame on our part and we should be very careful, we should not clap at it at all.