The president’s request was in accordance with Section 11 (a) of the FIRS Act 2007.
The drama started on the floor when Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba
made a request to consider the deferment, to another legislative day, the request by the president for the confirmation of Akpan for appointment as FIRS chairman.
Senator Kabiru Marafa was recognised by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu
, thinking that he wanted to second the request by Ndoma-Egba.
Marafa, however, opposed the nomination of the woman and cited the Senate Standing Rule 45, to justify his position.
He was ruled out of order by Senator Ekweremadu, who said the matter was not being presented as a motion, neither was it being presented as a committee’s report.
Senator Boluwaji Kunlere
thereafter seconded the Senate Leader’s request that the matter be deferred to another legislative day.
Ekweremadu then demanded a voice vote on whether the matter be deferred to another legislative day but those who opposed the request won.
The Senate Leader then moved another motion for the deferment of the matter to the appropriate committee for consideration.
Again, the senators who opposed the consideration of Akpan’s nomination, won through voice vote when Ekweremadu subjected the matter to voting for a second time.
Neither the Deputy Senate President nor the Senate Leader made further comments on the issue after the two voting sessions.
The duo of Senators Victor Lar
and Kabiru Marafa maintained that, based on the event on the floor of the Senate, the legislative body
had rejected outrightly the nomination of Akpan as the FIRS boss by Jonathan.
They explained that their colleagues, especially those from the northern part of the country, were opposed to her nomination in the spirit of federal character.
Lar said the longest serving chairman of the commission, Mr David Olorunleke, was from the South-West, while the last occupant of the position, Mrs Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, was from the South-South/South-East.
He said Alhaji Kabir Mashi, who is from the North, was appointed in acting capacity, adding that a northerner should either be appointed or the president should confirm the appointment of the current occupant of the position in the spirit of federal character.
“President Goodluck Jonathan has the prerogative of office to appoint any competent person to administer any federal government agency in the country.
“But the Senate also reserved the inalienable right to insist on appointment, based on fairness, equity and justice,” Lar said.
Marafa said Akpan’s nomination had been rejected outrightly, even as he vowed to lead another strong opposition should the Senate leadership again bring up the case for consideration.
There was a strong indication that the Senate might have sealed the hope of Akpan getting the FIRS job as the chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, said his colleagues had rejected the nominee by their action.
Citing Order 53 (6), he said: “It shall be out of order to attempt to reconsider any specific question upon which the Senate has come to a conclusion during the current session except upon a substantive motion for rescission.”
Briefing newsmen after the plenary, he said the upper legislative body “merely disagreed that her nomination be referred to the appropriate committee.
“The first motion was that the matter should be deferred to another legislative day but the senators disagreed.
“The senators also rejected another motion that the nomination be referred to the appropriate committee.”
The appointment and nomination, according to Ita- Enang was still valid before the Senate, because “it had not been rejected by the senators through vote.”
Meanwhile, the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), summoned the Minister of Finance, Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
, over the release of over N1.4 billion for the funding of the SURE-P Graduate Internship Scheme.