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Saraki rules senators out of order

Published by The Nation on Thu, 11 Jun 2015

Senators who raised points of order in an attempt to question Tuesdays election of the Senate President were ruled out of order during the first plenary of the Eighth Senate yesterday.After the inauguration of about 28 mostly All Progressives Congress (APC) senators, the inaugurated senators filed to shake hands with Senator Bukola Saraki, who presided over the plenaryhis fisrt as Senate President.But Senator Oluremi Tinubu did not shake his hand when he offered a handshake.She instead took a respectful bow and moved on.Senator Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara State) raised the order of privilege, but Saraki ruled him out of order.Marafa said: June 9, 2015 was slated for the inauguration of the National Assembly. Mr. President, who is the head of the government and the leader of the most populous party in West Africa and the party that controls the majority of this Senate, I and all the members of APC were summoned to a meeting with Mr. President through a well-signed and delivered message to all members-elect of the APC.Mr. President, while I was away and a lot of other members of this Senate, especially of APC extraction attending a meeting with Mr. President, this Senate went ahead to commence the process of inauguration, thereby infringing on my rights and privileges as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by disenfranchising me and my colleagues from participating in the election of the Presiding Officers of this Senate.More strange is the news item that the Senate was inaugurated with 57 members and the 51 Senators-elect absent.The word absent portrayed me and many of my colleagues as some kind of irresponsible members of this hallowed chambers to absent ourselves from an event that was well-announced, well publicised that everybody was expected to attend with his spouse, well-wishers and constituents.That singular act also caused an unwarranted embarrassment and a lot of other members here, our families that felt embarrassed by the announcement that I was absent during the inauguration of this National Assembly.Mr. President, I want to put it on record that after being sworn in today, I was handed over the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended. Mr. President, I want to say that as an active member of the 7th National Assembly, I cannot recall when the Senate Standing Orders were amended or tabled before this hallowed chambers for any amendments or corrections. I think it is worthy of notice that this act was perpetrated and I think Senate should call for a full investigation of what happened and where this document emanated.Saraki ruled that since Marafa came under Order 15 and Order 43, I am sure you read both and in reading it Orders 15 and 43 came out and said categorically that you must have previous discussion with the President of the Senate and I think to the best of my recollection and yours, this did not happen. Based on that, I think I have to rule you out of order.Senator Mohammed Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central) who was one of Sarakis loyalists, said that those who went to meet President Buhari were on their own.He cited Section 64(3), which provides that the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is empowered to order the proclamation of the Senate.Goje noted: What happened yesterday was in compliance with that Constitutional provision. Not only that, yesterday in this hallowed chambers the Clerk of the National Assembly read a letter written and signed by Mr. President himself.So for anybody to now say this hallowed chamber should ignore that constitutional provision, which was backed up by a letter from Mr. President, I think it is for that person to say that we should disobey the Constitution and disobey Mr. President.Therefore, let it be on record that whoever decided to go for another meeting is on his own.Saraki ruled that since Goje came under the order of the Constitution, which is in line with what is in the constitution, so the Order is sustained.Gemade again raised a matter of privilege that he was not allowed to participate in the election of the Senate President, but Saraki also ruled him out of order on the ground that the matter had already been addressed.Before the end of the plenary, 28 Senators, mostly APC lawmakers, were inaugurated in line with constitutional provision.Also yesterday, the Senate adopted a motion to write President Muhammadu Buhari to inform him that the presiding officers of the Eighth National Assembly had been elected.The motion was raised by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.The motion, which was unanimously adopted, said: That a message be sent to President and C-in-C informing him that the Presiding Officers of the Eighth National Assembly of the Senate have been elected as follows:1. Senator Bukola Abubakar Saraki, Senate President2. Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate PresidentII. That a congratulatory message be sent to the Hon. Speaker and Deputy Speaker on their election.iii. That a message be sent to the following bodies, informing them that a quorum of the Senate of the Eighth National Assembly has assembled and ready to receive any communicationEkweremadu listed the bodies to include African Union (AU), Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Pan African Parliament and Association of Senate, Shoora and Equivalent Council in Africa and the Arab World (ASSECAA).The post Saraki rules senators out of order appeared first on The Nation.]]>
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