Senate, House Caucuses shun APC on choice of principal officers

Posted by News Express | 25 June 2015 | 3,322 times

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The Senate on Wednesday rejected a move by some All Progressives Congress (APC) senators to read the letter by the ruling party recommending some senators to occupy other principal officers of the senate.

Senator Gbenga Ashafa (APC-Lagos East), who relied on Order 15 of the Senate Standing Order, urged that the president of the Senate should read on the floor of the Red Chamber the letter from the Party.

“Yesterday, most of the media houses carried a letter that was written by the chairman of our great party, the APC. We were expecting that that letter which has been received in your office will be read in order to see to the resolution of the party leadership tussle,” he said.

He backed the decision of the party leadership to recommend persons to occupy the other positions exclusively preserved for the party.

Quoting from Order 28 (1) he read: “There shall be a Majority Leader of the Senate. The Majority Leader shall be a senator nominated from the party with the highest number of senators. I believe that that letter should have been read to the hearing of all senators here present. Perhaps that will be the solution to the leadership tussle in the Senate,” he said.

APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, had in a letter dated June 22, 2015, recommended senators to occupy the other principal positions.

The letter recommended Senator Ahmad Lawan as Senate Leader; George Akume, Deputy Senate Leader; Olusola Adeyeye as Chief Whip; and Abu Ibrahim as Deputy Whip.

However, Senator Ibn Na’Allah (APC-Kebbi South) immediately countered the point of order and explained that the nomination should be made ‘from’ the party not made ‘by’ the party.

“By the ordinary principles of interpretation of documents that have been agreed by parties, the ordinary letters and words used must be given their effective meaning. Order 28 used ‘from’, not ‘by’. What this seeks to do is to deter the minority party from nominating the Majority Leader,” he said.

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, who presided over plenary, ruled Senator Ashafa out of order and declined to read the said letter.

“I have listened to Senators Ashafa and Na’Allah. Going by the rules and what has been said earlier, I think I will just note what Senator Ashafa has said. We will leave the matter as that and in that case, rule that out of order,” Saraki reacted.

Another attempt was made by Senator Kabir Marafa (APC-Zamfara Central) to question the June 9 election of Saraki and Ekweremadu, but that too was ruled out of order by the President of the Senate.

Marafa, relying on Order 110 and 3 (e) (i), of the Senate Standing Order, sought to know which of the Order Books (2011 or 2015) was being used to coordinate the activities of the 8th Senate.

He described the 2011 Senate Standing Order as ‘genuine and authentic’ thereby countering the authenticity of the Senate Standing Order 2015.

Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives more caucuses have come out to reject the position of the party’s national leadership on the zones that should produce the principal officers for the House.

The North-Central and South-East zones say the position of the party, which excludes their zones, is against the principle of federal character as enshrined in the constitution.

The zones also say they were not consulted before the position was taken and believe the party should reconsider its position on the matter.

APC governors and Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, had in a late night meeting resolved that Senate president and other APC members in the Senate, should henceforth respect the views of the party that brought them into power.

Speaking to State House Correspondents after the meeting, Chairman of the APC Governorship Forum and the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, said the party’s views should be respected.

Also speaking, the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, said that every one of them, including the senators, were elected on the APC platform not as individuals, stating that the party’s position must be supported by the senators at all times.


•Photo shows National Assembly Complex.

Source: News Express

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