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Ministerial screening: How Lawan foils Senator Okorocha’s plot to block Imo candidate

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There was a dramatic twist in the screening exercise on Wednesday when Senator Rochas Anayo Okorocha was blocked by the Senate President from raising dust against the screening of Rt. Hon. Goodluck Nnana Opiah from Imo State.

Okorocha who represented Imo West Senatorial district has been at daggers drawn with Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma and in what looked like a transfer of aggression, he indicated to speak during screening of the Rt. Hon. Goodluck Nnana Opiah, who was recommended for ministerial appointment by the governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma.

Being aware of Okorocha’s deft move for a dissenting voice, Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan after he had allowed Senator Francis Onyewuchi Ezenwa to speak tactically disallowed Rochas Okorocha from making comments.

Though, Ezenwa spoke in favour of the Imo candidate, Senate President disallowed Senator Okorocha when his address system was switched off.

Lawan’s action infuriated Okorocha and he engaged in shouting match, saying, “why he was disallowed, but a colleague of his was allowed.”

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CALPITAL POST recalled that Senator Rochas Okorocha was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the order of Imo State government over alleged stealing of State funds running to billions of naira when he governed the State for eight years

However, Lawan was said to have stopped Okorocha based on earlier agreement in a meeting of Senators behind closed doors that former lawmakers facing screening exercise should take a ‘bow and go’.

Reacting to questions at a press briefing after the screening, Rt. Hon. Goodluck Nnana Opiah who was a former Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly and member representing Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/Oru West Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives insisted that there was no ‘bad blood’ between him and Senator Okorocha, insisting however, that the former governor meant well.

“There is no bad blood between me and Senator Okorocha. What happened on the floor of the Senate today is an extension of that kind of rumour.

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“I can tell you that Senator Rochas Okorocha meant well. I think he wanted to add his voice to my nomination.
I have heard a series of telephone conversations with him before today. And there is no indication that he was going to oppose my nomination,” Hon. Opiah said.

The minister designate also said that he would put all arsenals together to make a mark in the Federal Executive Council.

“I will do everything using the knowledge I had garnered both in the private and public sectors over the years to add my support to those of my colleagues, members of the Federal Executive Council.

“This is to ensure that we move this country forward with a view to finding solutions to the problems facing our dear country.”

In the short period he would have as a minister to make a mark, the nominee said that “In governance, an hour means forever. And so if I have one week, one month, or one year I think I will put all my arsenals together to leave a mark wherever I will be.”

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Opiah further said that as a former member of the House of Representatives, he was happy to be screened by the Senate.

“I feel like being back home as a member of the national assembly. I have come to meet the old colleagues, most of them staff of the national assembly.

“I feel overwhelmed by the level of cooperation between the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“What happened earlier in the Red Chamber is an indication of the serious partnership between the Green and Red chambers.

“That is very commendable. We must do everything within our powers to encourage that partnership to continue to happen. It should be sustained if not deepened.

“I’m very happy to be nominated as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“I thank Mr President for finding me worthy of this nomination,” he said.

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