Posted by Samuel Ogidan, Abuja | 11 June 2019 | 944 times
Senators Ahmed Lawan and Ovie Omo-Agege on Tuesday emerged as the President and Deputy President of the Senate in the 9th Senate.
While Lawan defeated Senator Ali Ndume, his rival with 79 votes while Omo-Agege defeated the immediate past Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu with 68 votes.
Ndume had scored 28 votes out of the 107 total votes cast, while Ekweremadu got 37 votes out of the 105 votes cast.
In the case of President of the Senate, 107 senators participated in the election that brought Lawan on board, while 105 senators participated in the case of the deputy. One of the votes was voided and one Senator abstained.
Earlier before the election, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi) and Isiaku Abo (Adamawa) had nominated Lawan and Ndume respectively for the position of the Senate President, while Senator Adeola Olamilekan Solomon (Lagos) and Senator Mpigi Barry Barinada (Rivers) seconded the nominations.
The nomination came shortly after the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sani Omolori made the roll call of the senators. The number of senators after the roll call were 107.
After the roll call, the Clerk called on the senators-elect to nominate among themselves, who will be their leader. To this end, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi nominates Lawan for Senate President and was seconded by Senator Solomon.
After accepting his nomination, Lawan was called upon to address his colleagues.
Addressing his colleagues, Lawan said, “this is an opportunity for us to work and remain united to deliver the legislative intervention to provide sustainable good governance for this country.”
Explaining what unites them as lawmakers, Lawan appealed to the senators not to let anything to come between them in performing their constitutional responsibility.
He further appealed that even though he’s of the All Progressives Congress (APC) stock, while others are from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and others, they should not allow Partisan politics to hinder them from performing their legislative functions for the people.
He explained that the government is put in place to provide security and welfare for the people, lamenting that even though the government has done what it could in the past four years, the security challenges still remain.
He, however, said “If I am elected, I will ensure that our political differences will not affect us, in delivery for the people. I am for the interest of this country.”
Accepting his nomination, shortly after he was nominated by Senator Abo and seconded by Senator Barinaga (Rivers), Ndume, who was called to address his colleagues, lamented that the office of the President of the Senate is gradually losing its prestige.
Explaining what he tagged as his nine points agenda, Ndume said that the office of the President of the Senate should be dismantled, so that it will be one among equals.
He said: “The office is gradually losing its prestige. We now have a member of the Senate instead of a senator.
“This arm of government is created to work harmoniously with the executive. Our intention is to collectively work for the interest of this country, basically fight insecurity, corruption, among others.”
Ndume, who appealed to his colleagues to vote according to their conscience, explained how he will block the budget linkage to finance other infrastructure
Also speaking on what he would do if elected especially in the area of constituent projects, Ndume said that he will work with his colleagues to ensure that three months timeline is given for budget passage.
He said that he will take care of past colleagues that can be useful to the parliament, adding, “we should control our resources not the office of the presiding officers. I implore you to vote according to your conscience.”
The Clerk, however, declared the nomination closed, adding, “in view of your own rule, we are going for election. We are using, according to your rule, open secret ballot.”
Declaring the results of the election, the Clerk said “107 cast their votes, Lawan got 79 votes and Ndume got 28 votes. Lawan having scored the highest votes is now return as the President of the Senate.”
The election, however, took a dramatic turn when the Clerk called for a nomination for the office of Deputy President of the Senate.
The Senate was taken by surprise when the Peoples Democratic Party Senators-elect, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North) nominated Senator Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy President of the Senate for the 9th Senate. His nomination was seconded by Senator Rose Oko (Cross River).
Before Ekweremadu was nominated, Senator Ahmed Baba Kaita had nominated Senator Ovie Omo-Agege representing Delta Central Senatorial district. The nomination, was, however, seconded by Senator Sabi Abdulahi who is the immediate spokesman of the 8th Senate.
Both nominees have addressed the plenary with the newly elected Senate President, Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan seated.
Ekweremadu in his speech said, “The ugly scenario of stolen mace orchestrated by Senator Omo-Agege made him contest DSP office to protect the sanctity of Nigerian Senate.
He said: “I have accepted to contest as DSP of the 9th Senate and at this juncture, I will like to remind all senators-elect that what happened 8th months ago should moderate our sense of thinking. What we are doing today is a referendum on that conduct.”
Omo-Agege had said while addressing his colleagues that “with a heart full of humility, I rise to accept the nomination. I stand here today as one who is willing to assist the President of the Senate in his office.”
Before the Clerk, Omolori called for roll call, the Senate had engulfed in a rowdy session over the method to be used in conducting the election.
Some of the senators, especially those from APC were seen making reference to the court injunction that orders the National Assembly to use open ballot system.
The Clerk, however, cautioned the lawmakers to obey constitutional order, adding that he didn’t receive court order mandating the lawmakers to use open ballot system.
The Clerk, who, eventually have his way, added that he only allowed one of the lawmakers to talk because of his respect for the senators.
The Clerk, who was very stern in admonishing the lawmakers to maintain decorum, however, proceeded to call the senators according to states by alphabetical order. (Daily Independent)
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