Twelve days after the Senate cleared Chief Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla, Cross River, South South, as a non-Executive Commissioner on the governing board of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, it has made a dramatic turn by dropping his name from the list of successful nominees sent to President Muhammadu Buhari. Obono-Obla’s name was removed in the letter transmitted to Buhari as one of those confirmed by the legislature.
In the letter dated November 22, signed by Senate President Bukola Saraki, a copy of which was obtained yesterday, Obono-Obla was listed as one of the three whose nominations were rejected by the Senate. It would be recalled that Oboni-Obla was among the five whose nominations by President Buhari were approved by the Senate on November 17, 2016, while two of the nominees were dropped.
At the plenary, those whose appointments were confirmed were 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 lawmakers, however, dropped Aliyu Abubakar (Non-Executive Commissioner/Bauchi/North-East) and Pastor Ezekiel Yissa (Non-Executive Commissioner/Kwara/North-Central). According to the report of Senator Gilbert Nnaji led Committee on Communications, Pastor Ezekiel was rejected because of his background as a nursing officer.
The second nominee rejected by the Senate, Alitu Abubakar, had repeatedly called for the scrapping of the Senate, even when he appeared before the Senate for screening, saying the existence of the Senate was not justifiable. He also pointed out that the upper chamber was only wasting the nation’s resources by its existence. Obono-Obla, who is the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution, attached to the Ministry of Justice, protested in an email sent yesterday against what he described as back-door removal.
The mail was titled, Can the Senate President unilaterally overrule the confirmation of a nominee by the Senate? The nominee, who asked why he was removed after the Senate had confirmed his nomination, simply said: “The entire major electronic and print media organs in the country, on November 17 and 18, 2016, carried the confirmation by the Senate of the Board of Nigerian Communications Commission.
“Surprisingly and curiously, the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, in a letter dated November 22, 2016, to President Muhammadu Buhari, titled ‘Confirmation of Appointments,’ falsely stated that the Senate did not confirm the following nominees: Aliyu Saidu Abubakar; Pastor Ezekiel Yissa and Chief Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla.”