The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition has given itself a pat on the back for the way it handled the petition brought before it by senators from Rivers State against the screening of former governor of the state, Rotimi Amaechi as a minister.
Although the report of the committee was not made public on the day it was tendered before the Senate, all senators elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, staged a walk-out to protest the eventual confirmation of the ex-Rivers governor as a minister.
Speaking for the first time on the reactions that trailed the committee’s handling of Amaechi’s screening and eventual confirmation, chairman of the committee, Senator Sam Anyanwu (PDP-Imo East), on Saturday said they did a thorough job that can hardly be faulted by anyone.
“Our report on Amaechi cannot be faulted in any way. We have received commendations from over five Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) for standing firm. I do not have any grudges against anybody; I am only doing my job. I am one man nobody can put in his pocket.
“I don’t fight for anybody, I do the right thing. If people do not have confidence in this committee, they will be demoralized and discouraged from sending in petitions”, he said.
Sen. Anyanwu added that ordinary Nigerians who were wrongfully dismissed from their offices, “who did not have money to go to court or fear of persecution”, have brought their cases before the committee.
“When we ask agencies to re-instate people who were wrongfully dismissed, we equally insist that such persons are not victimized. This is people’s parliament; we are the voice of the voiceless”, he stressed.
Senator Anyanwu also debunked allegations that the committee would do the bidding of Senate President Bukola Saraki on the petition against the Code of Conduct Tribunal Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar.
The senator, who was reacting to allegation that the committee would likely do a hatchet job on behalf of the Senate president, who is standing trial before the CCT over alleged false declaration of assets, said that the committee owed Nigerians and nobody else, the responsibility to treat the petition against Justice Umar on merit.
He also dismissed the timing of the petition, insisting it had nothing do with Saraki’s ongoing trial at the tribunal.
“Once the petition against Danladi is sent to our secretariat, we will take a look at it, and be rest assured that if we find nothing in the petition, of course, we will write our report.
“I want to say that I am not doing anybody’s bidding; I have the capacity and I make researches and I have time for fact-finding and come out with a position.
“Why should Saraki use me to do his bidding? Why would Saraki use any senator to do his bidding? He is my colleague; he is just the Senate president, one among equals.
“He was elected by his constituents and my constituents brought me here. So, it not about doing Saraki’s bidding. If I have a responsibility to discharge my duty based on the petition because I am Chairman of Ethics and Privileges, I will do it. The most important thing is your conscience”, he said.