The senator representing Kano South, Kawu Sumaila (NNPP) has described the recent amendment to the senate standing rule which barred ranking members from the House of representat8ives and first term members from seeking to be elected as president of the Senate or deputy president of the Senate as a monumental blunder.
He said the action will consume the leadership of the 10th senate.
Barely two weeks after the 10th Senate suffered an impeachment scare, the Senate amended its standing rule and barred first term members from seeking to be elected as president of the Senate or deputy president of the Senate.
Adopting a motion sponsored by senate majority leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, the senate amended section three of its standing rule and specifically stated that to vie for the position of president of the Senate or deputy president of the Senate, a senator must have spent one term or four years in the upper legislative chamber.
Senator Sumaila who himself is a ranking member from the House of representatives said the senate has excluded members of the House of Representatives from the ranking arrangements in the Senate with the way the amendments was done.
“We are practicing bi-camera legislation. From the arrangements we met on ground, for you to be a ranking member of the Senate, you must spend one or more terms in the Senate or in the House of Representatives. There was no exclusion of the House of Representatives members. Now it is a game of numbers. “
He said the new rule has created a dichotomy between the red and the green chamber. It is making the members of the House to be inferior to their colleagues in the Senate. The House is made of 360 members while the Senate has 109.
“With the latest development definitely we are calling for anarchy as somebody who has the experience of the House of Representatives, I think it is not a healthy situation.
“At the end of the day, it is the executive arm of government that suffers. Definitely, the House of Representatives that I know for almost 20 years will surely strike and the Senate will be at the receiving end.
“I don’t think it should be an issue if a first time senator decides to contest the presiding officers’ positions. It happened in 2007 when Senator George Akume contested the Senate Presidency as a first time member in the Senate against David Mark, he went to court and call allowed them to contest.
“For the senators to start thinking that way, they lack something, they need to understand what National Assembly is all about.
“In 2015, when Akpabio had no legislative experience but he became minority leader. Recently Umahi became deputy majority Leader without legislative experience.
“We have three stages in our book. Senators who are re-elected are automatically referred to as ranking, also members from the House of Reps who migrated to the senate are ranking members.
“These two stages are ranking senators and we copied this system from the US. We need to ask ourselves how they are doing it. You cannot make a sister chamber to be inferior and think that you are not stoking controversy.
“If there is constitutional ammendment, Senate has its own version and the reps have their own. We will constituted a conference committee. The conference committee cannot alter any thing, it is either to accept Senate version or Reps version.
“Then we will come up with a uniformed version but if for any reason Senate disagrees with the House or House disagrees with the Senate it must be resolved by votes.
“If for any reason they refuse to adopt the senate’s position, definitely there will be a joint session, though it is the Senate President who will preside over the joint session, they are 360 while the senate members are 109. “This is the silent question they need to ask before they arrived at the decision. Somebody like Aminu Waziri Tambuwal you are referring to him as non ranking when he spent more than 12 years in the House of Representatives, a former speaker and now you are calling him a non ranking senator in this chamber? “People need to understand the implication of this kind of legislation.
He said the oppositio senators ignored it because tgey know it will consume those behind it.
“For instance when we ammend our rules we do it with simple majority not two third, therefore any day we do it once we form a quorum and there is an ammendment this particular clause can be ammendment it.
“If for any reason today we decide to remove our presiding officers, we can remove them appoint speaker or Senate President Protempo, while we are sitting we will suspend that clause, elect a new senate President who may not be ranking.
“That legislation can not hold water, it cannot stand. I was laughing when I see them thinking this way
Most of the members need to be educated on the working of the Bicameral legislature.
He said, the Senate only have upper hand when it comes to confirmation of appointments, but real legislation the House of Reps has the upper hand because it is a game of numbers, constitutional representation.
“Therefore being constitutional representation equality doesn’t can’t. The Senate representation is based on equality. The House is based on constitutional representation.
“Because in my case I have 16 local Government, 171 polical wards with over 5m people and I am the same with somebody who came from Bayelsa, Ekiti and Zamfara that have fewer Local Governments, some have 3 Local Government but Kano and Lagos have 20 Local Government.
“It is because of equality
But for House of Reps Kano has 24 and Lagos has 24 but if you go to Bayesa how many are they 3 but in the Senate, there is equality. Equality doest count In constitutional representation it I the House.
The current Senate President Godswill Akpabio was a first timer when he became minority leader when they suspended the rules,
Senator Dave Umahi is the current case in the 10th Senate, we suspended the rules without mentioning it and we allowed him to become deputy leader.
According to him in the current Senate, House of Reps members that migrated to the senate are about 30, in the leadership 6 persons came from there, Rafai Sani Hanga in the minority, we have Ali Ndume in the majority and we have the House Leader Opeyemi Bamidele he also is from the House of Reps about five of them
“When you start from the grade A committees, Bamidele is from the House, Tambuwal is from the House, Ahmad Lawan is from the House, Yayi is from the House.
“Over 30 senators started from the House of Reps. One of the senate members were once in the House. How do you think our colleagues from the House will view us.
He said they in the minority did not raise issues because their concern at the moment is the current challenges that the country is facing, economically and politically, “we need to bridge the gap between the leadership and the followers.”
Senate urges FG to withhold statutory allocation to LGC without elected officials
The Senate has urged the Federal Government to henceforth withhold statutory allocation to the Local Governments Councils(LGC) without democratically elected leaders
In the last three months of August, September and October the Local Governments received N702.647b out of N1.006 shared for the three tiers of government in the period under review.
The legality or otherwise of the Federal Governmemt’s power to enforce the Senate’s recommendation is left for legal experts to analyse
The Senate’s recommendation came after debate on the Urgent Need to halt the erosion of democracy: the dissolution of elected Councils in Benue State sponsored by Sen. Moro, Abba Patrick (Benne South)
The senate condemned the arbitrary dissolution of democratically elected Local Government Councils in Benue and other states in Nigeria
It also resolved to urge the Federal Government to review the Benue State governor’s dissolution of the elected councils and constitution of caretaker committees and reinstate the elected council executive forthwith.
The upper legislative chamber urged the governor of Benue state to adhere to his oath of office to obey the rule of law and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While leading the debate Senator Moro he was dismayed by the dissolution of Democratically Elected Councils in Benue State,
According to him, replacing the elected chairmen with Caretaker Committees to is an aberration and alien to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)
Quoting Section (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) he said it guarantees a system of local government by Democratically Elected Councils.
He insisted that it is the Constitutional responsibility of every state to ensure the existence of Local
Government Councils by law.
He indicated that there are subsisting court rulings directing the Governor, the House of Assembly, their agents, privies etc not to tamper with the tenure of the elected Councils
He therefore challenged the Governor/Government of Benue State to first appeale the outstanding judgments which has not been done adding that it is against the grain of the rule of law
Senator Adams Oshiomhole (Edo North) pointed out thatabout 16 states in Nigeria are currently without democratically elected council officials.
He urged the Senate to direct the Finance Minister to stop funding LGS without elected council officials.
Oshiomhole’s suggestion was supported by Senator Ali Ndume.
The senator representing Oyo North, Abdulfatai Buhari indicated that the Electoral Act should be amended to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct local government elections.
The President of the senate Godswill Akpabio also frowned at the establishment of multiple federal agencies but advocated the creation of the National Electoral Commission for Local Government so that governors would no longer have overbearing influence on council polls
Tinubu asks Senate to endorse $8.6bn, €100m loans approved by Buhari’s govt
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has asked the Senate to give him the authorization to borrow $8,699,168,559 and €100 million to carryout critical projects across the country.
The president’s request was contained in a letter read at the commencement of plenary on Tuesday by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.
Tinubu, in the letter, explained that the request was part of the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He said the projects to be funded with the loan cuts across different sectors of the economy, and were selected based on economic evaluation and the expected contribution to the country’s development.
The letter reads, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.
“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the federal executive council (FEC) held on May 15, 2023.
“The projects cut across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.
“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.
“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.
“Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy, it has become necessary for the Senate to consider and approve the 2022- 2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”
Niger Coup: Northern Senators ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic
***Plead with Tinubu to restore electricity supply to Niger
The Northern Senators Forum on Monday called on President Bola Tinubu to as a matter of Urgency use his position as Chairman of ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic in the interest of business and border community
They also demanded that Nigeria restore electricity supply to Niger Republic in line with the Nigeria-Niger treaty mandate.
The senators had in July on the heels of the military forceful take over of the democratically elected government in Niger, cautioned President Tinubu against use of Military power towards tackling the military coup, as they called for diplomatic options.
A communique issued at the end of their emergency meeting which was read by the chairman of the forum, Senator Abdul Ningi (Bauch Central) stated, “The forum on very strong terms condemn the spate of Military intervention in the democratic spaces in the West African subregion.
“The Northern Senators Forum in particular condemns the coup in Niger and urged the military junta in Niger to soften the relationship with the rest of ECOWAS military by setting free President Muhammed Bazoum and his immediate family to freely choose a country of his choice for asylum
They further urged the junta in Niger to bring about a transition time table that will last not more than two years.
They ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic in the interest of business and border community.
“It is important that Nigeriens should not suffer because of the coup that took place just like we have seen what is happening in Gaza
“We ask the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Commander in chief of the Armed forces and of course the chairman of ECOWAS, President Muhammed Bola Tinubu to as a matter of humanitarian gesture restore electricity supply to Niger Republic in line with the Nigeria-Niger treaty mandate.
Ningi called on Nigerians and Nigerien to remember that they remain brothers, partners and Africans and above all, we remain human beings
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