The Leadership Council of The Initiatives has revealed that the nomination of Festus Keyamo as a minister does not possess very special significance that would compel Senate President Godswill Akpabio’s visit to the presidential villa on his behalf.
This council comprises both current and former members of the national assembly. In the previous week, Akpabio was observed at Aso Rock shortly after a rowdy session within the Senate, where a motion was presented to confirmation of Keyamo for a the ministerial position.
Darlington Nwokocha, senator representing Abia central, had moved the motion when Keyamo appeared before the committee of the whole.
Nwokocha said Keyamo, former minister of state for labour, ignored the summon of the national assembly in 2020 over the recruitment of 774,000 Nigerians for the special public works programme.
Addressing a press conference at the weekend, Eseme Eyiboh, dean of the council and a former spokesperson of the house of representatives, said Akpabio could have been at the villa for an already scheduled meeting.
“The issue of Keyamo, I’m not speaking for the senate, but if you followed the process very well, what took place was very fair,” Eyiboh said.
“They said they wanted to step down his confirmation hearing and Keyamo tendered an apology and that apology was put to the senate whether they had accepted or not. They unanimously accepted that apology.
“There is nothing very special about that particular nominee that the senate president would have to go to the villa. It could have been about the palliatives they are trying to put together (for Nigerians).
“Why did he not go to the villa in respect of el-Rufai? He was one person whose confirmation hearing was stepped down.
“Whether he went to the villa or not, there was nothing special other than being at his post of duty – it could have been an earlier scheduled appointment.”
‘MONEY RECEIVED BY SENATORS A TOKEN’
Eyiboh said money gotten by senators to enjoy their recess was only a token because they have not received their salaries since they were inaugurated in June.
Akpabio found himself in an embarrassing situation after he said money had been sent to senators to enjoy their recess.
“They have not taken their salary, the capital releases for all MDAs were withheld so whatever is given to them, whether as salaries or allowances – a worker deserves his wages,” Eyiboh said.
“If you allow a senator to go on holiday… Oru for example has 18 LGAs in that entire district, Eket where I come from has 12 LGAs. If a senator goes home this time (without anything) you know what will happen to him.
“So that token was a representation of a gesture. If you are entitled to your salary and you are not given the full salary and you get this token, it is an intervention.”