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Onyeama dodges “Biafran bullet” at Senate hearing

Geoffrey Onyeama, the ministerial nominee from Enugu State, faced the Senate this afternoon for his confirmation hearing.

Senator George Sekibo from Rivers State asked him three questions and the most explosive was what was Onyeama’s opinion on the agitation for Biafra by groups such as Massob (Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra).

The nominee was perhaps lucky that the structure of the questioning was such that three senators would ask about three questions before he was called to respond.

This allowed Onyeama to address all the other questions and skip the one about Biafra.

The other interesting questions he was asked included, how he would, after spending nearly 30 years working abroad, avoid being “initiated into corruption by civil servants”. He was also asked what he thought about the poor condition of Enugu-Onitsha Road.

On corruption, he said that a good name takes years to build and he was not prepared to lose his good name, no matter the amounts that were put before him.

On the poor road from Enugu to Onitsha, he said he had driven on it recently because his father-in-law from Owo, Ondo State had died. He made a good point with reference to President Obama in the US, where investment in infrastructure was a stimulus for reviving an economy battered by the financial collapse of 2008. He suggested Nigeria could learn from that experience.

The rest of the questioning was very mundane and Onyeama batted them away like the international bureaucrat he is – answered them without saying anything revealing or ground-breaking.

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