Bayelsa Assembly Rejects Governor Diri’s Commissioner-Nominee

Drama has played out at the Bayelsa State House of Assembly after the House refused to confirm, Grace Ekiotenne, a nominee sent by Governor Douye Diri.

She served as a former Commissioner for Transport but was nominated by Governor Douye Diri to serve as a commissioner at the State Local Government Service Commission.

Ekiotenne was among three nominees on a list forwarded by the governor to the assembly for screening and confirmation to serve as commissioners and members of the commission.

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

But the legislators declined to screen and confirm 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 primary of the Peoples Democratic Party but failed to pick a ticket, was alleged to have undermined the powers of the assembly.

According to the lawmakers, Ekiotenne on several occasions shunned members of the assembly 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, claimed that she had used her alleged closeness to former governor and Senator representing Bayelsa West in the National Assembly, Seriake Dickson, to intimidate the lawmakers in the past.

They said the time had come for them to take their pound of flesh even as attempts by Ekiotenne, who hails from Ekeremor Local Government Area in Bayelsa West, to seek 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 (retd.); MacDonald Igbadiwe; and Tare Porri, in their separate remarks, advised those cleared by the legislature to promote team work 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.