One of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees for the position of non-executive commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) from Kwara State, Mr. Yissa E. Benjamin, who was rejected by the Senate after screening, said he was a just a victim of “vicious politics” by politicians from his state.
Benjamin stated this yesterday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, while addressing journalists on the matter.
“I had no prior knowledge of the nomination, just as I do not have any relationship with the president. But since the day my name was announced, people have been telling me that I will be rejected because I am from not the Senate president’s camp.
“I have also been inundated by people who call themselves loyalists of the Senate president and who have been beating their chests that without the endorsement of Saraki, my clearance would never see the light of the day.
They said Dr. Bukola Saraki would stand in the way of my nomination for the reason that he did not nominate me, but I thought the Senate president would place the interest of Nigeria and the president above every other thing and protect the interest of my people in Kwara-North Senatorial district and the state at large,” he said.
He said his rejection was premised on the basis of his profession as a nurse, which according to the Senate, was not the inappropriate professional qualification for a non-executive commissioner of the NCC.
“Although, I am disappointed, I’m not surprised. However, I am proud to be a nurse and if I had a second chance to choose a profession, I will not hesitate to settle for nursing. Aside that, I am also a certified graduate of social policy and planning as well as an active pastor.
But the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in his reaction through his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu,said the decision as to which presidential nominee will be cleared after screening is first that of the Senate committee members before whom the nominee will appear and then that of all the 109 members of the Senate who will indicate their opinion on the suitability or otherwise of that nominee based on the recommendation of the committee.
“The Senate President is primus inter pares, that is, first and among equals in the Senate. He cannot single handedly take a decision or override the decision of the majority. No nominee will be rejected if the majority does not support his rejection. In any case, there was a reason given for the rejection of this particular nominee. Why doesn’t he address the specific issue of why the Senate rejected his nomination and found him unsuitable for that post?
“If the president feels very strongly that the NCC cannot function without this nominee, he can get the nominee to correct the anomaly raised by the Senate committee which screened him and then represent his name to the Senate for reconsideration. The man should stop playing on sentiments. He should address the issues,” he said.