Ekweremadu, 82 Senators repose confidence in Saraki

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As the Senate resumed from its recess Tuesday, Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president alongside 82 other senators have passed a vote of confidence on their President, Bukola Saraki, urging him on on his leadership of the hallowed chamber.
The other principal officers of the National Assembly were also given support as they battle their perceived persecution from the executive arm.
The president of the senate is currently facing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal CCT over alleged falsification of assets declaration to the Code of Conduct Bureau CCB.

The vote of confidence by the 83 senators which is seen as a support for Saraki in the on-going trial, is the second in two months, coming after the July plenary during which 81 senators routed their support for his leadership.


It started as a motion from David Umaru (APC, Niger East) and supported by Ahmed Sanni (Zamfara Central).

Umaru noted “The Senate shall not allow itself to be distracted, deterred, or succumb to cheap blackmail in the course of carrying out its constitutional responsibilities by any individual or group of people under any pretense or guise for personal political interest”.

In its resolution, the upper chamber called on Nigerians not to allow themselves to be “used by any person or persons to harass, intimidate or blackmail the Senate”.

Of the 83 senators, 48 are PDP while 35 are APC members. The two parties form the composition of the senate.

The confidence vote got the support of former Senate President, David Mark, Godswill Akpabio, Jonah Jang, Theodore Orji and from the APC, the ruling party are Shehu Sani, Adamu Aliero, Bukar Ibrahim, Kabiru Gaya.

Jide Omoworare, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, excused himself, pleading ignorance of the motion.
In like manner, Kabir Marafa (APC, Zamfara Central) raised a Point of Order after the motion had been unanimously endorsed, citing Order 53 Rule 5 of the Senate Standing Orders, to protest his exclusion from comments on the motion before its endorsement.

Isah Misau (APC, Bauchi Central) failed to correct Marafa for his venom on the Senate President,as he also got a dosage of the latter’s anger.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who felt embarrassed, apologised and assured that recurrence of such behavior would be ruthlessly dealt with. 
Senate spokesperson, Dino Melaye said the legislator’s actions contravenes three sections of  Section 56 of the Standing Rules.

Earlier, Saraki said the Senate was yet to receive a communication from the President on ministerial list and urged the parliament to put national interest above personal interest in the screening and confirmation of the nominees.

He also stated that the Senate would review the performance of the 2015 budget.

The House of Representatives had earlier set up an adhoc committee over non-implementation of the N556 billion capital expenditure in the N4.493 trillion 2015 budget.

Said Saraki: “The biggest challenge face by our country today is the state of our economy. The dwindling oil revenue has brought enormous shock to our economy and greatly limited the capacity of government at various levels to meet even basic commitments.

“Our country has gone through periods of recession in the past. What we face today is however unprecedented in ramification and potential gravity. We must think hard and work hard with the Executive to achieve greater clarity in policy direction and interventions.

“We shall therefore commence immediately, a review of the 2015 budget and begin now to lay down the fundamental principles that would determine the 2016 budget and the philosophy of our economy in times like this”.

In another development, some protesters besieged the National Assembly Complex in Abuja yesterday, calling on the Presidency not to victimise the Senate leadership.

The two groups – Ohaneze Ndi-Igbo Youth movement and Coalition of Civil Society Media Executives (COCMEP) – with placards of various inscriptions, asked the Senate president not to resign.

AUTHOR: Adeolu Olatobi

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