Bayelsa Assembly Rejects Screening Diri’s Commissioner-Nominee

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Gov. Diri Of Bayelsa State

Members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly have declined the screening of a commissioner-nominee for the State Local Government Service Commission, Grace Ekiotenne, who is the immediate past Commissioner for Transport.

Ekiotenne was among a list of three nominees that Governor Douye Diri sent to the 24-member House for screening and confirmation to serve as commissioners and members at the commission.

The governor also forwarded the name of one Eyororokumo Ben for screening and confirmation as the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Board of Internal Revenue. He was successfully screened and confirmed.

However, the legislators rejected the nomination of Ekiotenne over allegations bordering on disrespect for the legislature, resulting in a mild drama on the floor of the House during plenary on Thursday.

The commissioner-nominee, who resigned to contest the state House of Assembly primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party but failed to pick a ticket, was alleged to have undermined the powers of the Assembly.

The legislators claimed that Ekiotenne on several occasions shunned members of the House Committee on Transport while in office as commissioner, thereby frustrating their oversight functions at her ministry.

Some of the lawmakers, who vehemently opposed her nomination, stated that she had used her alleged closeness to former governor and Senator representing Bayelsa West in the National Assembly, Seriake Dickson, to intimidate the legislators.

They said the time had come for them to take their pound of flesh even as an attempt by Ekiotenne, who hails from the Ekeremor Local Government Area in Bayelsa West, to seek an audience was rebuffed.

The other two nominees, Stanley Braboke and Awipi Odudu were screened and confirmed with dispatch as Commissioner-designate and member of the local government service commission respectively.

However, the leadership of the legislature constituted an ad-hoc committee chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Michael Ogbere, to look into the reasons why the screening of Ekiotenne was declined by the members.

The Speaker of the House, Abraham Ingobere; Deputy Leader, Colonel Bernard Kenebai (rtd); MacDonald Igbadiwe; and Tare Porri, in their separate remarks, advised those cleared by the legislature to promote teamwork to enhance productivity.

They also urged them to run an all-inclusive policy and tackle absenteeism of workers while maintaining a cordial relationship with the legislative arm of government.

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