The atmosphere at the senate was charged on Friday after Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi west, asked Festus Keyamo, ministerial nominee from Delta state, to recite the second stanza of the national anthem.
Melaye made the request while asking the nominee questions during the ministerial screening.
The senator had started by describing Keyamo as his good friend, saying “our relationship dates back to years”.
“I want to start by congratulating my friend, Festus Keyamo. I just want to start by saluting your intellectually sagacity and from your CV, you have practised law in and out and this practice has been so recognised by you getting the highest title any lawyer can earn in this country, a senior advocate of Nigeria, and your being a prosecutor for the EFCC for so many years,” he said.
“I want to ask you as a qualified lawyer and a man who is even qualified for the office of the attorney general of the federation. Peradventure the president send you to the ministry of justice with all your experiences, do you think in the last four years, the power of the attorney general met these three conditions: public interest, interest of justice and need to prevent abuse of legal process.”
He then asked Keyamo to recite the second stanza of the national anthem.
“I just want to say that as a versatile minister, I know you to be intellectually mobile, you recite the second stanza of the national anthem,” he said.
The request was met with a thunderous “no oooo” but Melaye stood his ground even after his microphone was switched off.
Shouting on the top of his voice, the Kogi lawmaker said: “Mr Chairman, screening as it has been described is meant for us to screen the candidates…”
But Senate President Ahmad Lawan overruled Melaye.
“That is not a question. So you have asked about two question. You have asked very serious questions, so you can disregard the other part,” he said.
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