Chris Steven, Abuja
The Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group, has called on the leadership of the Upper chamber of the National Assembly not to give in to blackmail by some individuals and screen without any further delay ministerial nominee and former Rivers state governor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.
The group in a statement issued yesterday alleged that those behind the blackmail campaign have perfected plans to damage Amaechi’s reputation as part of an on-going tussle in Rivers state politics noting that such individuals must not be allowed to distort the national consensus for change.
It noted that the Senate has screened former Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola, his Ekiti state counterpart – Kayode Fayemi and others who had held public offices at some point relying on conventions.
The statement signed by Comrade Philip Agbese noted that applying different sets of rules for the screening of candidates could amount to re-writing Nigeria’s laws to selectively suit one group while leaving another group disadvantaged stressing that that such was unacceptable.
It said “Amaechi as a former legislator and one time Rivers State Speaker House of Assembly should have ordinarily been allowed to take a bow and go just like the Senators have done to many of the other nominees.
“Unfortunately what we are seeing is a Parliament that has increasingly allowed itself to be arm-twisted by individuals with vested interests to prolong what should have been the straightforward screening of the nominee.
“This will amount to selective justice and negates the principle of fair trial if the Senate decides to constitute itself into a court of law by passing a guilty verdict on Amaechi on account of the internal politics of Rivers state.
“The nation’s constituted courts have not convicted him of any offence and the reports that some people seek to act upon would still have to be tested at the law courts before they will amount to convictions that could bar him from holding public office.
“The Senate would thus be playing to the gallery if it fails to understand the fundamental right of a citizen to remain innocent until proven otherwise by a court law. To many well meaning Nigerians it amounts to the highest level of double stand and abuse of the concept of separation of powers clearly defined in our constitution.
“The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must therefore not give her ears to the voices of anti-democratic elements in Nigeria to deliberately cause a stampede to the expected changes and reforms which Nigerians are yearning for on daily basis.” The group warned.
It said the Senate must also realise that it neither has the capacity nor the resources to dabble into the local affairs of each of the nation’s 36 states and must not use Rivers state to set a precedence that could come back to haunt Nigeria in future.