…As Lawan Submits, Then Heads To Court
Ahmed Lawan Submitted Himself And Took Oath As A Senator Before Senate President Bukola Saraki Alongside 28 Members Of His Group But Something Nasty Happened
Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Still sulking from Tuesday’s nasty decimation of the superiority claims of leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the National Assembly Leadership Elections, the Senator Ahmad Lawan-led group, Senate Unity Forum (SUF), yesterday declared that it “would take all necessary legal means” to get redress.
This was after Senator Oluremi Tinubu had snubbed the Senate president by refusing to observe the protocol which required senators, after oath taking, to show their Certificate of Return (CoR), then, have a handshake with their President. Though all other senators observed the protocol, Senator Tinubu, merely showed her CoR and walked away.
These came after Lawan had presented, and submitted, himself in humble obedience to authority by taking the oath as a senator of the Federal Republic, before his senate president, Bukola Saraki. Lawan, along with 28 members of his group, all took the oath before the senate president. The oath empowers them to operate as Senators of the Federal Republic.
Leader of the group, Senator Barnabas Gemade, who hinted about the group’s decision to head to court, also claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari actually asked the Clerk of the National Assembly (CNA), Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, to delay the proclamation of the 8th Assembly on Tuesday.
Gemade explained that Buhari’s reason of seeking a delay was to enable him speak with senators of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja. The UNION reports that 57 senators- elect were at the Upper Chamber to start the inauguration of the Assembly before being joined by 19 others.
Maikasuwa declared that a quorum had been formed enabling commencement of the inauguration. Citing Order 64 of the Senate Standing Orders 2011, as amended, which allows any senator to raise a matter when the privilege of a senator is breached, Gemade argued that the privileges of many senators were breached yesterday.
Gemade, who pointed out that the 7th Senate had enjoyed great unity, said what happened on the floor of the Red Chamber was a breach of the privileges of the senators, who were purportedly at another meeting. “The 7th Senate had enjoyed great unity, which is important for the smooth running of the Senate.
Let me also state that the Clerk had been asked to give a reasonable delay of the proclamation for the respect of the President, who was meeting with some senators-elect. The President had actually sought a slight delay to enable him speak with the senators that he wanted to speak to.
I think that respect begets respect, and, if Mr. President made that request of the Clerk, he should have been mindful to give that respect to the President. “While we were still at that meeting, the television was already showing that the event was already going on.
It is a breach of the privileges of the senators, who were at that meeting,” he argued. Gemade, who threatened that his group would head to court, also accused Maikasuwa of going ahead with the election, despite knowing that the quorum for such election was not met. “The insinuation in some quarters that we boycotted the election is totally unfounded.
As loyal party members, we would take all necessary political and legal means to strengthen our democracy and democratic process in line with the change that we promised our supporters during our electioneering campaign. “This process, which remains unconstitutional, cannot confer legitimacy to the elected Senate President.
Our right to participate in the election of the Senate President is a constitutional right, which cannot be taken by any person or group of persons. “The CNA, knowing full well that the quorum for election of the Senate President has not been met, went ahead to conduct an election that shuts the door to about 53 other senators, which would remain unacceptable until what would meet democratic parameters (is) done,” he concluded.
The UNION, however, reports that Order 10(1) of the Senate Standing Orders 2011, as amended, states that: The quorum of the Senate shall be one third of the members of the Senate. Meanwhile, Coordinator of the Like Mind Senators (LMS), Senator Dino Melaye, has described Buhari as responsible, transparent and honest Nigerian, whose name should not be dropped to achieve a negative purpose.
Melaye, who was reacting to the purported meeting of Buhari with some APC lawmakers, maintained that the information was “dubious and fake information”. “The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari is a responsible and transparently honest Nigerian. The President, in his constitutional duty, sent a proclamation letter to the National Assembly. And in that proclamation letter, he stated categorically that the proclamation of the 8th Senate will be done at 10 a.m. of the 9th of June, 2015.
How can Mr. President that knew in one hand send a letter of proclamation to the National Assembly and in the other hand call for a meeting at the International Conference Centre? “And if Mr. President wants to meet legislators, the Defence House is there, the Villa is there, the Banquet Hall is there.
Why International Conference Centre? However, did Mr. President eventually attend to anybody at International Conference Centre? Capital No! “So, that information is Made-in- Taiwan information in continuation of the name dropping of Mr. President. Mr. President has consistently said he has no preferred candidate; that whoever emerges as the Senate President, he is ready to work with that person.
But some people have decided to drop the name of Mr President,” he observed. Lawan and some members of his group, including Gemade, had refused to join the rest of their colleagues at the chamber during the election.
But after the election, which had 23 APC senators in attendance, Saraki, administered the oath of office and allegiance on the 75 other senators. However, the 28 senators grudgingly swallowed their pride, and presented themselves before Saraki for their swearing-in on Wednesday. The 28 other APC senators had mobilised themselves to the chamber as early as 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, waiting for Saraki to formally swear them in as senators.
After the votes and proceedings of the previous legislative day were adopted, the 28 senators took turn to take their oaths by reading it out aloud, and appending their signatures. By protocol, each of the newly sworn-in senators was expected, after taking the oath taking, to present a copy of his/her certificate of return (CoR) to the Senate President, and in turn, shake hands with him.