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Senators draw battle-line, set to cripple Presidency

By News Express on 03/07/2016

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The ongoing face-off between the Senate and the executive arm of government has attained a frightening crescendo.

The Senate, at the weekend, appeared to have dug in for what could be a protracted tussle. Executive bills, special requests from the Presidency, including nominations are expected to fall casualties in the dirty battle.

Following the huge drop in anticipated revenue upon which the N6trn budget was largely based, the Presidency, it was learnt is preparing an amendment. But sittings of the Senate may suffer serious disruptions after its current Sallah recess, as a result of the trial of its two Presiding Officers, a situation that ‎could frustrate the amendment and any other request from the executive arm.

The Senate is expected to resume plenary sittings July 12, 2016.

“I can conveniently tell you that we are ready for the executive this time. The matter is simple. They cannot eat their cakes and still have it. The executive believes that it can impose a Senate President ‎on the House. It won’t happen. So, as far as the overwhelming majority of Senators are concerned, nothing like the appointment of Senate President Pro-Tempore will happen on the floor of this Senate. If the two Presiding officers are not around, we will close the chamber, until such a day one of them would be available,” a senator from the Like Minds group vowed.

Hopes of a likely emergence of a Senate President Pro-Tempore, to preside over plenary in the absence of Saraki and Ekweremadu, was dashed, yesterday, following the opposition of many senators to the idea. The Like Minds, comprising over 80 senators have already resolved to shoot down any such move.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, will face trial beginning Monday, July 11, 2016, over allegation of forgery.

According to Senate Rules, plenary sittings would only hold with a Presiding Officer to guide the day’s proceedings. And in the absence of the two such officers, the Senate President and the Deputy Senate President, ‎Senate can only sit, if it appoints a Senate President Pro-Tempore.

Rule 27 of Senate Standing Order states: “In the absence of the President of the Senate and Deputy President of the Senate, such senator as the Senate may elect for the purpose shall preside. Such senator shall be known as ‘President Pro-Tempore’.”

Chairman of Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Sam Anyanwu, who sent his reaction on the matter via text message said: “There is nothing like that and it cannot happen.”‎

The Chairman of Senate Committee on Banking and Other Financial Institutions, Rafiu Ibrahim, said: “It is a blatant lie.”

Excerpted from a Guardian report. Photo shows the Senate in session.

Source News Express

Posted 03/07/2016 09:15:47 AM


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