By DICKSON OMONODE
LAST minute intervention by President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Thursday led to the long awaited screening of former Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to the consternation of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Nyesom Wike and others opposed to Amaechi’s nomination as minister.
But National Daily gathered that Saraki’s intervention took place late Wednesday in a ditch effort to save the former governor as well as provide a soft landing in the pending case before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) which seemed determined to nail the Senate President in a proxy fight involving the upper legislative chamber, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dependable sources disclosed that Saraki made the move to save Amaechi following assurances that the CCT trial may be whittled down or struck out if he agrees to play ball by ensuring that the former Rivers State Governor was cleared as a ministerial nominee.
The rival PDP and incumbent Governor Wike had waged a titanic battle to stop Amaechi’s nomination and eventual confirmation by the Senate on the ground that he was very corrupt and left the once buoyant Rivers State treasury totally empty, a charge which the man denies.
However, Saraki reportedly pleaded with the PDP caucus to stand down support for Wike as failure to do so may spell doom for the current leadership of the Senate, including the position of Deputy President of the Senate occupied by Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
Ekweremadu, a PDP Senator became Saraki’s deputy in a deal entered into by the latter, following insistence by the APC leadership that Senator Lawan should be the President of the Senate, a development that has since pitched Aso Rock against the upper legislative chamber.
Having outsmarted the APC to emerge President of the Senate, Saraki has been engaged in countless battles for survival, and observers believe that the CCT trial may have been contrived by the APC and Buhari to extract a pound of flesh from him.
National Daily learnt that Saraki saw the face off over Amaechi’s nomination as opportunity to secure his tenure and therefore appealed to the PDP caucus which had been a bastion of support to stand down its opposition, thereby paving way for the former governor to be screened.
Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and Minority Leader of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio at Thursday’s plenary shocked Nigerians when he announced that the PDP caucus had taken a decision not to ask Amaechi questions, a position which saw the latter screened.
APC national chairman, Chief Odigie Oyegun, other party leaders attended the session along with thousands of party supporters who converted the National Assembly ground into a rally, chanting “We don win”, after Amaechi was screened.
But it is yet to be seen whether Saraki’s timely intervention in an impending time bomb would lead to cessation of hostility between him and the APC leadership led by President Buhari.
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