NASS Leadership: Saraki, Dogara stay as APC, PDP senators opt for truce

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Anxiety over a showdown along party lines between All Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, senators on the resumption of the Senate yesterday, turned into an anti-climax.

Ten weeks after the National Assembly embarked on its annual break, the two legislative chamber, yesterday, reconvened. But contrary to expectations that the maiden session will be rowdy, there was calm throughout the 45-minute and 16-minute sessions in the Senate and House of Representatives respectively.

This is contrary to threats issued by the All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers, who, during the recess which began on July 24, vowed to sack the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara as soon as the Chambers resumed.

Specifically, Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, on Sunday, said Saraki will be removed.

Abdullahi Adamu, Ovie Omo-Agege and other APC senators, had been leading the campaign to effect leadership change in the senate.

Ironically, as soon as lawmakers convened at about 11.03am, it went into a closed door session, which only lasted for about 10 minutes. As soon as it reconvened, Saraki, who presided, read letters from President Muhammadu Buhari.

Newsmen gathered that during the closed door session, senators from the ruling APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), agreed to give peace a chance.

A senator who spoke to Daily Sun, said lawmakers had a frank talk about the future of the eighth Senate as they deliberated on pending requests from President Buhari, especially confirmations of appointees and budgets of agencies.

“The Senate went into close session where all members had frank discussions about the future of the eighth Senate as it goes into its last stage.

“Members agreed to give peace a chance and avoid allowing the Red Chamber to degenerated into an arena of conflict over partisan and personal issues.

“The APC caucus leadership also extracted a promise from the senate president that national interest will continue to take precedence over any other consideration in the activities of the Senate.

“The senators agreed not to allow external forces and influence to cause disaffection, disturbance or crisis within the legislature,” the lawmaker revealed in confidence.

Meanwhile, Biodun Olujimi, who until yesterday was the Senate Minority Deputy Whip, took over as Senate Minority Leader, while Emmanuel Paulker from Bayelsa state, took over as Deputy Minority Whip.

Although it was yet to be formally announced on the floor of the Senate, Olujimi sat on the seat reserved for the Senate Minority Leader.

Godswill Akpabio, who recently defected to APC is the immediate-past Minority Leader. He resigned, following his defection.

But, former Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, has opened up on why APC senators did not fire from all cylinders on the first day of resumption.

Speaking on a national television programme monitored in Lagos, Ndume reiterated that it was absurd, in a presidential system of government, for a minority to preside over the chamber’s affairs.

“There is an absurdity that a member of the minority is presiding in the chamber; same in the House of Representatives. We will see how it plays out but the urgent matters of national importance takes priority.

“The APC is in the majority in the two chambers. For the Senate, we have published the list. There are 54 senators in the chamber, with some of us in APGA.

I don’t see how the issue of majority and minority becomes an issue. Well, you can say we have simple majority in the chamber.

“If I were the two presiding officers, I would either resign or allow them to have another office and open myself to a vote of no confidence… It’s not normal for someone in the minority to preside over the majority. The situation is not normal and since the situation is not normal, abnormal things can happen.”

Like in the senate, the session in the House of Representatives was brief, as it adjourned after barely 16 minutes in honour of one of its members, Adedoyin,who died during the recess.

Adedoyin, a former Minister of Health during the tenure of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, until her death, was member representing Ekiti /Irepodun/Isin/ Oke-Ero federal constituency of Kwara State. She was also the deputy chairman, House Committee on Army.

The House adjourned at about 11:55 a.m., after the adoption of motion moved by the House leader, Femi Gbajabiamila.

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