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Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker, others at the UN Conference of Parliamentary Heads (Photos)

31 Aug , 2015  

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saraki dogaraSenate President Bukola Saraki and Dogara pictured at the UN Conference of Parliamentary heads in NY today.

See more photos after the cut…


 

Speaker Dogara earlier had a meeting with the Speaker of the Chinese People’s Parliament Mr. Zhang Dejiang.

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senate President Bukola Saraki’s home gutted by fire

28 Aug , 2015  

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official-photo-senate-president-bukola-sarakiThe Abuja residence of the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, was gutted by fire this morning.

He confirmed the incident on his twitter handle and said the fire has been contained. Below is what he posted online

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Saraki steps up his peace game, reaches out to Tinubu

23 Aug , 2015  

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saraki-tinubuThe battle of wills rocking the leadership of the All Progressives Congress may soon be over.

According to punch, contrary to his public posturing of defiance, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had started reaching out to some of the aggrieved leaders of the party.

Saraki is one of the gladiators in the clash of egos and wills that followed the Senate leadership election on June 9 and subsequent appointment of principal officers.

The Senate President had earlier visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo to help him beg President Muhammadu Buhari.

He also reportedly met with the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, on the same matter.

During the week, some emissaries sent by Saraki met with President Buhari and sought forgiveness for the Senate President for acting contrary to the dictates of the party.

The emissaries included Senate Leader Ali Ndume, Senator Kabiru Gaya, Senator Adamu Aliero, Senator Danjuma Goje, and Senator Abdullahi Adamu.

A report in a national daily on Saturday also said the emissaries apologised to the President for the individual roles they played in the crisis.

However, sources in the party told SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday that the emissaries also had a brief to meet with the party’s national leader and former Governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu.

Many within the party see the crisis as a battle of wills with Buhari, Tinubu and some party leaders on one side of the ring and the Senate President and his backers on the other side. One of the prominent APC leaders that is believed to have backed Saraki is former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

But sources told our correspondent that Saraki, of recent, had made strenuous efforts to meet and appeal to Tinubu to sheathe his sword.

Our correspondents report that Saraki’s olive branch to Tinubu may mark a turning point in the crisis as the Senate President, before now, had insisted that he would not ‘beg’ the APC leader.

But the sources added that Saraki might have changed his position when all his efforts to get President Buhari to forgive him for his defiance to the party and move on.

It has been widely reported that Buhari has refused all entreaties to host the Senate President at the Presidential Villa since the controversial election in the senate. The President had also said the leadership of the senate should tow the party line.

Two APC officials who spoke to our correspondent yesterday shed light on Saraki’s last two attempts to reach out to the APC national leader. They said that one attempt occurred three weeks ago while the other took place on Thursday in Abuja.

“Three weeks ago he tried to get across to Tinubu through one of his aides. Of course, the aide couldn’t have arranged the meeting. Tinubu’s disposition to the matter is well known,” the source said.

The APC national leader, sources said, had told some of Saraki’s emissaries in the past that the senate leadership should toe the party line.

Another source said the last attempt took place during the week when the APC senators, who met with the President at the behest of Saraki, also tried to get across to Tinubu. A source close to Tinubu said while the former Lagos governor was aware of the move, his position on the matter had not changed.

The source stated that Saraki needed a long-term strategy to pacify the aggrieved party leaders, adding that the Senate President’s is perceived as haughty by some of these leaders.

“It is a surprise that he is reaching out to Tinubu. Saraki has no respect for Tinubu. He is contemptuous of him. During meetings he refers to him contemptuously as “Bola”. In fact there was a time that Tinubu wanted to explain a point to him and he shut him up,” the source said.

The source may have alluded to the cultural norm in Tinubu and Saraki’s Yoruba ethnic group where an elder is not addressed by his first name. Tinubu is 63 while Saraki is 52.

But the source close to the APC leader insisted that the national leader had no ‘ego problem’ with Saraki.

“Tinubu’s take is that the senate should toe the party line. It is not a personal problem at all. If it were a personal problem, the President won’t be reacting the same way.”

The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Lai Mohammed told one of our correspondents on Saturday that the APC believes in party supremacy.

He said, “I can’t comment on the story you are asking me about. However, the APC has made its position on party supremacy known.”

The spokesman for the Senate President, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, could not be reached on Saturday night. Calls and a text message sent to his line were not responded to.

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Saraki’s camp makes fresh peace moves with Buhari

23 Aug , 2015  

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saraki-buhari-apc-glasses-jide-saluThere are indications that the camp of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, may be beating a retreat in the lingering cold war with the All Progressives Congress, APC, hierarchy over the leadership crisis in the Red Chambers, The Nation reports.

According to the report, the arrowheads of the camp have already reached out to President Muhammadu Buhari in order to reconcile the Senate President with him and, by extension, the party leadership.

According to the report, members of the peace team are also billed to meet with a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
It was however gathered that peacemaking Saraki loyalists were said to have left the first meeting with Buhari “uncomfortable” on account of his body language.

It will be recalled that Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had emerged in defiance of the position of the party on the leadership of the National assembly.

According to the report, the decision of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to comply with APC’s directive on the choice of principal officers in the House, was largely responsible for the change of heart by Saraki and his supporters having being put under pressure by Dogara’s move, adding that the Buhari/Saraki’s loyalists and strategists meeting took place at the Presidential Villa a few days ago.

The meeting, reportedly led by Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, was shielded from reporters for what a source described as “avoiding media backlash on the fresh peace process.”
The report has it that those who accompanied Ndume to the meeting were Senators Adamu Aliero, Danjuma Goje, Kabiru Gaya and Abdullahi Adamu.

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Saraki in dilema as Senators reject reducing their salaries

13 Aug , 2015  

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saraki-senateSENATE President, Bukola Saraki, appears to be currently in a state of confusion, as his plans to considerably reduce the salaries and allowances of senators apparently hit a brick wall yesterday.

Saraki had, in his early days as Senate President, hinted that his leadership would review downward, the perceived bogus salaries and allowances of senators, saying his decision was in line with the mood of the nation.

The Senate President had constituted an ad-hoc committee on the review of the finance of the Senate for the purposes of cutting cost of governance through downward review of salaries and allowances of senators.

After weeks of deliberations the 10-man committee, chaired by Senator James Manager, PDP Delta South, submitted its report to the senate last week Thursday with recommendations on a slight reduction in the salaries and allowances of senators.

The report, according to a source, recommended a 10 per cent cut in the allowances and salaries of all senators.

The report which was to be openly debated on the floor of the Senate yesterday for possible adoption, was stood down for further legislative input after about two hours of closed door session by all the senators on it.

At the resumption of sitting yesterday, Senator Saraki following a closed door session, said that senators agreed to step down the report for further legislative input without giving any reason.

But some senators, who later spoke to Vanguard on the issue on the condition that their names must be kept secret, said the report was stood down due to its total rejection by the majority of the senators.

Senators it was learnt, warned that the matter must be cautiously handled.

One senator said that though majority of the senators agreed that funny allowances like the monthly N42,000 wardrobe allowance should be cancelled or cut off completely but that many reasoned that substantive statutory emoluments should be sustained in the face of increasing financial requests from constituents and other Nigerians on daily basis.

He said: “Yes, as recommended by the committee, all senators agreed that there must be openness in the Senate budget and by extension, all beneficiary organs of the National Assembly but at the same time, many reasoned that why should we further reduce our budget when already, N30billion has been reduced from the traditional N150 billion that it used to be for all the seven different organs of the National Assembly.

“All of us have people in our constituencies and financial requests from them keep pilling up on daily basis, the reality of which made steps to be redirected, otherwise, some of us may stop coming here.”

However, the Chairman, Senate Ad- Hoc committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Dino Melaye, APC, Kogi West, at a media briefing, explained that the stepping down of the report was done in order to carry the House of Representatives and other organs of the National Assembly along.

According to him, the budget of the Senate was not independent of the entire National Assembly.

He said: “The Senate today, in closed door session, discussed the report of the ad hoc Committee on finances of the Senate, and after due deliberations by the senators, we came to the conclusion that since the budget of the Senate is not independent of the budget of the National Assembly, where the budget of the House of Representatives is also inclusive.

“We have the management, we have the NILS, we have even the Public Accounts, we also have the National Assembly Civil Service Commission, we have agreed that we should consult amongst other arms that share the budget of the NASS, with the House of Representatives before we would draw a conclusion on the report. So, the resolution is that we are going to interface with the House of Representatives so that we can be on the same page on the report as presented. This is the resolution of the Senate today in closed door session’

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Senate discredit claims of Saraki on 2019 presidential bid

7 Aug , 2015  

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idp-camp-sarakiThe Senate has discredited claims in some quarters that Senate president Bukola Saraki’s visit to some IDP camps in Maiduguri, Borno state on Monday August 3rd was geared towards his alleged presidential aspiration in 2019.

Speaking through its chairman on publicity, Senator Dino Melaye, the senate said there was no truth in the claim.

“It is myopic to say the visit has a link with 2019. The visit was not the making of the Senate president but the resolution of the Senate during a plenary last week. The visit has nothing to do with the ambition of the Senate president.
The visit was as a result of the motion moved by Senator George Thompson Sekibo of Rivers East Senatorial District on the Boko Haram insurgency. It was during the debate at the floor that Senate resolved that a delegation led by the Senate president should visit the North East states,” he said.

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Bukola makes steps for 2019 presidency

6 Aug , 2015  

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Bukola-Saraki-MaiduguriON Monday this week, Bukola Saraki led a team of his closest senate collaborators on a visit to Maiduguri. Any rookie political analyst could have seen through the stage-managed trip, given the near-presidential halo around it, with hands pumping, photo ops with IDPs and a visit to the Shehu of Borno. On Tuesday morning, most newspapers carried a syndicated picture of the ‘august visitor’ waving to the IDPs.

Never before in the history of Nigeria’s transition to civil rule since 1999, have we had a senate president determined to seize the public space like Bukola Saraki.

Soon after he controversially    snubbed his party to emerge, he began to hold court, receiving visitors, issuing statements and for all intents and purposes, wrestling limelight with Muhammadu Buhari, elected as President, with the executive powers that go with it. But determined to defy the controversy around his emergence, Bukola Saraki is seizing political territory and desperately attempting to control the space of public perception as much as possible.

His ultimate goal remains presidency and he can’t even wait for 2019 before beginning to show his hands. The Maiduguri visit is the first attempt at testing the waters with a toe, and more such visits will come in the near future.

An opened Pandora’s box

But there are serious problems that Bukola Saraki continues confronting from the moment he opened the Pandora’s Box and in a manner of speaking, letting the genie out of the bottle, that morning of June 9th, 2015. He is fighting a battle against public perception because in many quarters in Nigeria, he has not been able to live down the feeling that he betrayed his party.

Bukola Saraki remains defiant and continues to ignore the APC and PMB’s openly expressed preference that APC senators bow to party supremacy; he fills positions with members of his own group, daring the party and PMB to do the worst!

Yet, he is deeply worried that so far, he has not been able to secure an audience with President Muhammadu Buhari. He took desperacy to a ridiculous height on Sallah day; refused to go for prayers in Ilorin, but rushed to Abuja Eid praying ground for a photo opportunity with PMB. He got a short shrift by being publicly ignored! The depth of his despair was made clear in an article published by many newspapers at the weekend, and written by Saraki’s Media Special Adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu.

Titled “Let the lawmakers move on and work for Nigeria”, Olaniyonu expressing his principal’s troubled mind, stated that: “The President should maintain his earlier position not to get involved in legislative politics…

A way to send the right signal that he is ready to help the National Assembly build on the new found unity is for the President to now OPENLY MEET AND RELATE WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF BOTH CHAMBERS (my emphasis)”. So as is his wont, Bukola Saraki defied the APC, blatantly ignored PMB’s perspective but expects that this issue be resolved in his favour as a fait accompli.

And the fact that he was not allowed on the presidential entourage to the US visit also hurt him deeply and this was expressly stated by Olaniyonu: “We need to put behind us the past experience in which the President travelled to the United States for crucial bi-lateral discussion on several issues without any member of the legislature. That was an opportunity missed to give legislative backing to executive engagements”. But we know better. Angst was being directed at the fact that Bukola Saraki missed the photo-op with President Barack Obama.

It was therefore no surprise, when reports emerged this week that a very worried Bukola Saraki, unable to secure an audience with PMB, was corralling the Emir of Ilorin to service to find every opportunity for him to get to see the president.

There are also relatedly desperate efforts to press other traditional rulers into the same engagement. What should not be lost to Nigerians in all the developments is that while desperate to get a presidential audience, he nevertheless continues to defy the same president and party in respect of the extant problems arising from his demarche on June 9th.

Presidential election

The positions playing out are very complex but there is a consistent pattern. Firstly, for all intents and purposes, Bukola Saraki has finished with the APC. But he will stay in the party for as long as possible to suck into his camp as many members as he can before finally returning to the PDP, where he hopes to become the candidate for the 2019 presidential election. Does this sound farfetched? It does not! Last week, in the wake of the invitation issued to Toyin, Bukola Saraki’s wife by the EFCC, it was revealed that petition acted upon, had been filed by the PDP branch in Kwara state.

What followed next was that the national PDP leadership through Olisah Metuh directed Kwara PDP to disown the petition, because, according to Metuh, they were working for Bukola Saraki’s  return to the PDP! It could not be any clearer. And the logic of Bukola Saraki’s defiance of APC and President Muhammadu Buhari, makes it impossible for him to stay inside the APC in the long run. Consumed by his presidential ambition, that logic will lead to a denouement that will eventually arrive, as political events unfold in the next couple of months and years in the country.

Chapter of a personal agenda

When he entered into the agreement that returned Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President, he consciously chose to trade away the Nigerian people’s desire for change on the platform of the APC. He had finished using SAK and the slogan of CHANGE and was now embarking on the next chapter of his own personal agenda for presidency, as early as in 2019. Bukola Saraki and his followers deliberately reduced calls for party supremacy, to Bola Tinubu’s ambition to control everything in the APC. So many of those who used that platform to win positions that they would ordinarily NEVER have, became foot soldiers of Bukola Saraki’s ambition within the APC, especially in the North.

So instead of working to further enhance the North-Southwest alliance, these shortsighted and opportunistic Northern politicians who bought into Bukola Saraki’s anti-Tinubu propaganda endanger PMB’s CHANGE Agenda and willy-nilly, have become as disruptive as Bukola Saraki and are working for his personal agenda NOT the interest of Northern Nigeria or those of our country, in the long run. The vicious propaganda onslaught against Bola Tinubu was actually an onslaught at the individual who played the most vital role in building an alliance with PMB and who together became the champions of a North-Southwest accord that won power for the first time in our nation’s political history.

In the long run, their agenda is really not against Bola Tinubu, but it is just the opening salvo in a targeted onslaught by Bukola Saraki and his political tendency within the APC, against President Muhammadu Buhari. That will come to the fore as we approach 2019!

By getting Ike Ekweremadu into the loop as Deputy Senate President, and contrary to the norms of Senate in respect of ranking, also making Godswill Akpabio Minority leader, Bukola Saraki will claim his political IOU in 2019.

He will posture as having given the Southeast and the South-South recognition and platforms of relevance, when they ordinarily would have lost out in 2015, for voting against the APC and PMB. Secondly, he would calculate that his chances are very bright as PDP’s presidential candidate in 2019, because given the current political reality, the PDP will most likely be obliged to present a Northern candidate to run against PMB.

Appointment of     legislative aides

That is why Bukola Saraki has been appointing legislative aides from different parts of the North and beyond who would easily and seamlessly make the transition into becoming his campaign coordinators in different parts of the North and beyond! This is the most logical background that puts his various steps into context: defiance of the party to run against the party’s candidate; entering into an alliance with the PDP, and thus bringing it back into the loop of legislative leadership even when Nigerians had rejected the party at the polls and had expressly accepted the slogan of CHANGE; continuing to make appointments that suit his own personal agenda not those of the party; ignoring President Muhammadu Buhari and doing everything to contest the space of public visibility with PMB and carrying on as if he is an alternative president of Nigeria, based in the senate!

These steps are carefully thought out and that is the way he will continue to act in the lead to 2019! So when the APC leadership insists that the senate leadership toes the party line and PMB appeals to the morality and conscience of the Bukola Saraki group in senate, we can only wonder where their naivety comes from.

There is no moral suasion that will take Bukola Saraki’s eye off the ball of his personal agenda. For him, senate presidency is merely a stepping-stone to Nigeria’s presidency. If they doubt this, they should visit my hometown Ilorin, where this has been regularly drummed into the heads of the local people:”Bukola is not interested in the ‘Number Three’ position; he wants Presidency”! That is the propaganda in Ilorin. So when Bukola Saraki entered Maiduguri this week, he was taking the first tentative step into the very muddy and murky waters on the route to the 2019 presidential elections.

Humanitarian  trip for succour

Of course, that was not the way that the trip was presented; on the contrary, it was supposedly a humanitarian trip to give succour to people displaced as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency.

He will lull his opponents to underestimating the essence of his scheming until it becomes too late for them to effectively respond. One of Bukola Saraki’s greatest strengths is a single-minded and ruthless devotion to anything that confers him advantage.

There are very few real politicians on the Nigerian political scene today, but in his total commitment to his personal agendas, no one can trump Bukola Saraki today in Nigerian politics. That is what makes him formidable and a danger at the same time! So when PMB and his advisers analyse the political space, they must reckon with Bukola Saraki’s unrelenting and formidable ambition to become president as soon as 2019.

If they treat that challenge with levity, they would certainly have another thing coming! They will become easy prey for a calculating and politically astute Bukola Saraki!

Source: Vanguard

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Senate President Bukola Saraki run to Emir to seek help on Peace with Buhari

2 Aug , 2015  

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official-photo-senate-president-bukola-sarakiAccording to Punch, In his efforts to make peace with the Presidency over its distaste on the composition of the senate leadership, Senate President Bukola Saraki, has resorted to seeking the assistance of emirs and traditional rulers.

In realising this objective, the senate president, has sought the help of the Emir of his home town, Ilorin, Kwara State, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, an aide of the emir told our correspondent.

President Buhari, since the inauguration of the 8th Senate on June 9, has reportedly been shunning Saraki whose emergence and that of his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu of the Peoples Democratic Party did not go down well with the leadership of the All Progressives Congress.

According to the emirs aide who spoke on condition of anonymity, the senate president has requested some prominent traditional rulers in the state led by Sulu-Gambari, who is also the Chairman, Kwara State Council of Traditional Rulers to intercede on his behalf with Buhari.

It was gathered that the monarchs had wanted to meet with Buhari but could not as a result of the Presidents visit to the United States and his recent visit to Cameroon to seek for regional collaboration against Boko Haram.

The aide also told our correspondent that this would not be the first time Sulu-Gambari had interceded on behalf of Saraki concerning the senate presidency.

According to him, the Emir of Ilorin before the emergence of Saraki as the Senate President had sent a team of emissaries to the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, with a view to getting the former Lagos State governor soften on his stand against Sarakis ambition to occupy the exalted position.

He said Saraki is now more worried with the resolution of the leadership tussle in the House of Representatives, where the Speaker, Alhaji Yakubu Dogora, after meetings with Buhari and other APC stakeholders acceded to the partys decision and announced Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila as the House Leader.

The aide added that Saraki was in Ilorin at the weekend, adding that the Senate President would continue with his mobilisation for prominent stakeholders to smoothen the relationship between him and Buhari.

But in a telephone interview with our correspondent, the spokesperson for the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Solihu Mohammed, said though he could not confirm Sulu-Gambaris mediatory role between Buhari and Saraki, the Emir had been playing unifying roles for the sustenance of the nations democracy.

Mohammed said, I am not aware that Saraki has approached the emir to smoothen relationship with the senate president and the president of the country.

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Saraki shocked Nigerians with naming of four Senate Committees

29 Jul , 2015  

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saraki-senateThe Senate President, Bukola Saraki has shocked Nigerians, by naming four Committees at Wednesday plenary.

The committees include:
1. Selection Committee to be headed by the Senate President.
2. Rules and Business Committee with Senator Babatunde Omoworare representing Oshodi East Senatorial District as Chairman
3. Ethics and Privileges Committee with Senator Samuel Anyanwu representing Imo East Senatorial District as Chairman
4. Ad-Committee on Publicity is to be headed by Senator Dino Melaye from Kogi West Senatorial District.

DAILYPOST recalls that the Senate President on Tuesday commenced the constitution of the Standing Committees to enable it carry out its functions effectively.
He disclosed at plenary on Tuesday that forms would be distributed to senators to indicate interest in committees they would serve.
Saraki further affirmed that each lawmaker was at liberty to belong to more than one committee, adding that they were free to also make suggestions after studying the forms.
He said , Senators are advised to fill the forms indicating their interest in belonging to the committees of their choice and it is a maximum of five committees per senator.

The forms will be distributed by the Clerk. You can also take a look at the form and make your submissions to the leader of the senate, he said.

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Forgery of Senate Rules: Controversy as Police seek political solution

27 Jul , 2015  

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CONTROVERSY has swallowed the report of the Police investigations into the alleged forgery of the 2015 Standing Rules of the Senate following its recommendation of a political solution on the issue.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu,  Deputy Senate President
Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President

The 13-page report of the Police investigations obtained by Vanguard which details submissions from seven senators belonging to the National Unity Forum led by Senator Ahmad Lawan affirmed that the amendment of the rules was not according to the laid down rules of the Senate.

The Police report termed the development as not only “criminal, but portends danger for our growing democracy.”

However, the report, which did not indict any person, drew back from recommending prosecution. The report authored by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG Dan‘Azumi Doma, concluded by suggesting that the casefile be forwarded to the Attorney-General of the Federation for his assessment as to whether a crime had been committed or whether the action laid within the internal affairs of the Senate.

The police conclusion is in the wake of mutterings by elements supportive of the Senator Bukola Saraki-led leadership of dire consequences on senators who petitioned the police for dragging the internal affairs of the Senate to the Police. The development promises a showdown between the two camps as the Senate resumes tomorrow.

Further controversies stoked the development, yesterday, following the submission by a senior staff of the National Assembly that the amendment was at the behest of the leadership of the former Senate.

Despite that submission, it emerged, yesterday, that no member of the David Mark leadership was questioned by the Senate. Senator Mark was not available for comment on the development, yesterday, as a senior aide said he was not available.

Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy President of the Senate; Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, the leader of the 7th Senate both denied being questioned by the police in separate interfaces yesterday.

Ekweremadu, who has been in media spotlight over the issue was not once mentioned in the report by the police.

Meanwhile, the report has drawn controversy upon claims that the Police received submissions from only senators belonging to the Senate Unity Forum, in the All Progressives Congress. Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, senators and senators aligned to the Senator Bukola Saraki inclined Like Mind Group were yesterday muttering that their side to the issue was not taken.

Those questioned

The seven senators, who were questioned by the DIG Doma-led team, were Senators Suleiman Hunkuyi, Secretary of the Senate Unity Forum who wrote the petition to the police, Ahmad Lawan, Abdullahi Gumel, Kabiru Marafa, Gbenga Ashafa, Robert Boroffice and Abu Ibrahim.

Also questioned were former Senator Ita Enang, who served as chairman of the Business and Rules Committee in the 7th Senate; Senator Babafemi Ojudu and Solomon Ewuga, all of whom are members of the APC.

Also questioned were the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa; the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Ben Efeturi; Secretary, Directorate of Legal Services in the National Assembly, Mr. Daniel Adem and Secretary of the Senate Committee on Business and Rules, Dr. Ogozy Nma.

All of those questioned with the notable exception of Mr. Efeturi, who also doubles as the Clerk of the Senate, denied knowledge of the amendment.
The Clerk of the National Assembly, Maikasuwa, who presided over the election, is quoted in the report as saying: “that he did not refer to any Senate Standing Order/Rules but used the normal procedures for the opening of a new parliament.”

The report also quoted him as denying knowledge of the existence of the production of the Senate Standing Rules 2015 as amended.
Efeturi, on the other hand, however, affirmed that the production of the 2015 Standing Rules was in line with convention as he said that the same procedure was used in the production of the standing rules in 2003, 2007 and 2011.

Efeturi, who is about the longest serving legislative bureaucrat in the National Assembly with experience running from the Second Republic, according to the police report is quoted as saying that “the Senate Standing Orders 2003, 2007 and 2011 followed the same procedure as that of the 2015.

“He emphasised that in the parliament, amendment of Standing Orders is by practice and not necessarily by procedure. He further stated that the ruling of the Senate President on the June 24, 2015 that the Senate Standing Orders of the Senate 2015 is authentic is final, relevant and cannot be challenged. He attached a copy of the debates of the Senate on Wednesday, June 24 24 where the Senate President ruled that the Senate Standing Order 2015 was the authentic Standing Orders of the 8th Senate.”

The police in its findings nevertheless dismissed Efeturi’s contention, saying that so long as it was not done in the lifetime of the Mark Senate that it was irregular.
But despite the dismissal of that submission, the police drew back from making an indictment. Rather, the police sought counsel from the Attorney General on whether the issue was a crime or leave it as an internal affair of the Senate.

Findings

(a) That on the 9th of June, 2015, a document entitled “the Senate Standing Order 2015 as amended” was distributed to senators of the 8th Senate for their inauguration as members.

(b) That the contents of the Senate Standing Order 2015 as amended are substantially different from the Senate Standing Order 2011 as amended. Sections 2(iv), 3(3)E, I,ii,iii, G and H, 5 and 7 of the Rules are different in the two Orders.

(c) That the Senate Standing Order 2015 as amended was used by the clerks of the National Assembly and the Senate as the Senate Standing Orders to inaugurate and conduct elections into the offices of the presiding officials of the Senate viz the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President etc.

(d) That the testimonies of some members of the 7th Senate including that of the chairman of the Business and Rules Committee and Senators of the 7th Senate indicate that the Senate Standing Order 2011 was not amended during the tenure of the 7th Senate which ended on the 8th of June, 2015.

(e) That the procedure for the amendment of the Senate Standing Order as contained in Section 110 of the Senate Standing Order 2011 as amended stipulates that any amendment to the Senate Standing Orders should be in line with the following procedures:

i. Any senator desiring to amend any part of the Rules or adding any new clause shall give notice of such amendments in writing to the President of the Senate giving details of proposed amendment.

ii. The President shall within seven working days cause the amendment to be printed and circulated to members. Thereafter it shall be printed in the Order Paper.

iii. The movers of the amendment shall be allowed to explain in details the proposed amendments, thereafter the Senate shall decide by simple majority votes whether the amendment should be considered.

iv. If the decision is to consider the amendments, then another date shall be set aside by the Rules and Business Committee, whereby opportunity would be given to Senators to further propose amendments but must strictly be confined to the original amendments.

v. Two third majorities shall decide the amendments and such amendments shall form part of the Rules of the Senate.

(f) That the Clerk of the Senate, Mr. Benedict Efeturi, who doubles as the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly confirmed in his statement that the Senate Standing Order 2015 as amended was produced on the orders of the Senate leadership without following the amendment procedures as contained in the Senate Standing Orders 2011 as amended.

(g) That the allusion by the clerk of the Senate to procedure of amending the Standing Orders of Parliament through “practise and not necessarily by procedure” is a misplaced analogy and undemocratic because the Nigerian Senate has clearly laid-down without a provisio, the procedure to be adopted in amending its standing orders as contained in section 110 of 2011 Senate Standing Orders.

Recommendations

5. From the findings, especially from the statement of the Clerk of the Senate who doubles as the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, the Senate Standing Orders 2015 which was used to inaugurate the 8th Senate on the 9th of June 2015 was ordered by the leadership of the 7th Senate without following Section 110 of the Senate Standing Rules 2011 as amended which requires that any amendment to the Senate Standing Rules must be debated and approved by the senators on the floor of the Senate.

5.1. This practice where some group of senators amend the Rules of the Senate without following legal procedures is not only criminal but portends danger for our growing democracy and should be discouraged. However, it is recommended that the file be sent to the Attorney General of the Federation for vetting to determine if this conduct constitutes crime or should be treated as an internal affair of the Senate.

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