By CrossRiverWatch Admin
Twelve days after the Senate cleared Chief Okoi 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 Obono 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, Aliyu 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 e-mail 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.”
Obla said the Senate is not Saraki and as such Saraki cannot reverse his nomination. He assured that the President will look into the development and find a way out of the logjam.
Lawyer to Barrister Obono Obla and social commentator, Barrister Utum Eteng, however brought a differently slant into the stalemate by accusing two senators from the state, Owan Enoh and Gershom Bassey of being responsible for the withdrawal of Obla’s nomination.
In an open letter to Senator Owan Enoh, Barrister Utum Eteng, called on the Senator to explaon his role in the incident.
Part of the letter read: “I am pungently sure that you will not shy away from letting the people know the alleged role [you] played in the purported mischief to influence the leadership of the Senate to use the backdoor of the Senate to withdraw the confirmation of the nomination of Chief Obla by Mr. President.
“I heard as concerned Cross Riverians particularly from Ugep Urban that out of a purported mischief of your humble self and another Senator from Cross River State, you influenced the leadership of the Senate to send a letter to the Presidency withdrawing an earlier confirmation of Chief Obla, as a non-Executive Commissioner (South South) in the Nigerian Communication Commission.
“It is alleged that this withdrawal was done consequent upon your joint pressure and possible blackmail. I Chief Utum Eteng do not believe that you Senator John Owan Eno I know before now could degenerate so low as to have a hand in such pettiness and illegality.
“I do not believe, you have a hand in it, be that as it may, I still make room for my understanding of politics to be concentric layers of conspiracy cartoons in day-light-smiles laced with nocturnal/midnight betrayals. I make room again that you could be blackmailed by your detractors having met you in Obla’s office soliciting to work together as people from the same senatorial district. Distinguished Senator, could it possible that you later thought otherwise as to be associated with this blackmail?
“I wish to emphatically state that if before this open letter to you, you have not heard this embarrassing story and haven’t read it, now in this my open letter, the ball is more in your court to let the people of Cross River State particularly the people of Ugep in Yakurr Local Government where Chief Obla comes from and also the people of Etung, the traditional brothers of the Ugep people, to know the truth if you are to set the records straight.”
CrossRiverWatch attempt to get a reaction from Senator Owan Enoh were not yet successful at the time of filing this report.
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