By Ben Agande, Daniel Idonor, Tordue Salem & Inalegwu Shaibu
ABUJAâ€”IT was different strokes, yesterday, in the two chambers of the National Assembly over the approval of Governor Mohammed Namadi Sambo of Kaduna State as Vice President.
While his confirmation as the nationâ€™s number two man witnessed a smooth sail in the Senate, it was a rowdy session at the House of Representatives but the nomination still went through.
Sambo, who is the first Vice President to emerge through National Assemblyâ€™s approval, is however, expected to be sworn in today.
Contrary to the earlier submission by the Senate spokesman, Senator Ayogu Eze, that another day for the approval would be chosen yesterday, the Senate had to suspend its rule to give an expeditious approval as requested by President Goodluck Jonathan
Smooth sail in Senate
Leader of the Senate, Senator Teslim Folarin who read the letter from the President forwarding the name of Namadi Sambo invoked Order 42 (2) of the Senate rule to submit the name.
Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who led debate on the confirmation
said the assignment at hand was â€˜important and historicâ€™, saying that Sambo had the requisite experience and qualifications to effectively carry out duties of the Vice President.
He said: â€œWe have before us a very important and historic assignment and this is the first time we are doing this under the 1999 Constitution. Today we are being called upon to perform such historic assignment pursuance of Section 146 (3) of our Constitution. The nominee is well known to all of us, having been a Governor and a Commissioner in Kaduna State.
â€œWe believe that he is capable, he has temperament, he has experience to become the Vice President of Nigeria. We can only add that in doing so he must see himself as a pan Nigerian to ensure that all parts of Nigeria will be his constituency.
I am sure he is a bridge builder who ensures that both arms of government, all the arms of government at different levels of government are coordinated for effective governance of this country. I therefore support this nomination and urge our colleagues to do so.â€
After the lead debate, senators unanimously called for his confirmation by asking the Senate President, Senator David Mark to put the question.
Senator Mark, taking a cue from the senators, asked for the confirmation of Namadi Sambo as the Vice President of Nigeria, and the senators through voice votes, overwhelmingly voted yes.
The Senate President after the confirmation assured the Vice President of the support of the Legislature and urged him to work hard for the good of the nation.
He said: â€œOn behalf of the Senate I want to congratulate Sambo for this honour which the President has done to him and which we have approved and we urge him to join all of us in this desire to move the nation forward.â€
Explaining why the Senate confirmed the Vice President, yesterday, Senate spokesman,Â Senator Ayogu Eze, said the President had asked for expeditious action to enable him complete appointments into his government.
He said: â€œAs you are aware, we have just approved the Presidentâ€™s nominee for the position of Vice President, Architect Namadi Sambo and we had to go into close session to discuss the nominee. It was a consensus of senators in close session.
We are very comfortable with his credentials and we believe that he has the wherewithal to do the job.
â€œI have to apologize because the normal procedure is that we would have read the communication today and then we will take the screening at the next legislative date or on a date to be appointed by the Senate.
But this was in consideration of the plea by our President, that he was anxious to complete his government by swearing in the Vice President tomorrow and moving on with programmes of his administration.â€
Rowdy session in the House of Reps
Before the eventual approval of Sambo through voice vote, Speaker Dimeji Bankole was stretched to his wit end as he almost lost control of proceedings following fierce opposition to the motion by some of the law makers who were out to frustrate the dayâ€™s business..
Signs of trouble appeared early as the Speaker made to read the Presidentâ€™s letter which contained Governor Samboâ€™s curriculum vitae with some lawmakers interrupting him.
Decorum was cast to the winds soon after Bankole, against all distractions, read Samboâ€™s CV as those opposed to the speakerâ€™s insistence on having his way rose from their seats throwing the House into a theatre of confusion.
While opposing the motion, HonÂ Kiru Ubale Jakada Kiru(ANPP/Kiru/Bebeji_Kano State) told the House that â€œSince we are still looking at the CV (Curriculum Vitae) of the Kaduna Governor, this confirmation should be deferred to another dayâ€.
The ensuing rowdy session held up proceedings for over twenty minutes as the Speaker who appeared confused at this stage, watched his colleagues moving about on the floor of the House.
The Chief Whip had a hectic time calling members to order before proceedings could continue.
House Majority Leader, Hon. Tunde Akogun from Edo State was subsequently called to move the motion seeking to approve the Kaduna Governor as Vice President.
However, Deputy Speaker, Bayero Nafadaâ€™s intervention urging members to support the motion was drowned by chorus from pro-Sambo lawmakers singing â€œAll we are saying, give us Samboâ€and the voice vote was taken.
Earlier, the Speaker who appeared elated after reading a six_page resume of the VP_designate, said â€œWe are about to move a motion for the confirmation of a Vice President. This is something that has never happened here before. This is the first time we will be doing this in the House of Representatives, so I plead with my colleagues to please take their seats and make the Nation proudâ€.
Samboâ€™s confirmation, makes it the first time the House of Representatives would be part of a screening or confirmation of a public office holder.
Swearing in today
Meanwhile, the Vice President designate, Alhaji Namadi Sambo is to be sworn in today as the fourth democratically elected Vice President of Nigeria, at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the same venue where former Acting President Goodlucuk Jonathan was sworn in as Nigeriaâ€™s 14thÂ leader, 14 days ago.
He is to be sworn-in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, an event that will be immediately followed by the weekly Executive Council of the Federation, EXCOF, meeting which will be presided over the President Jonathan.
Expectedly, the new Vice President, after his swearing in, would begin his first official duties as Nigeriaâ€™s Vice President outside Abuja; by travelling to his home state, Kaduna, to attending the swearing in of his successor and former Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Mr. Patrick Yakowa, who is now the Governor designate of state.
The new Vice President is to represent President Goodluck Jonathan at the swearing in ceremony, as President Jonathan leaves for the Cameroun Republic tomorrow to attend that countryâ€™s 50th Independence Anniversary, which holds in Yaounde, the nationâ€™s capital.
Meanwhile, a major overhaul of the security apparatus of the Presidential Villa is being carried out, as at press time, with injection of some over 100 men and women drawn from various security agencies, into the system.
It was also learnt that like the Yarâ€™Adua era when the entire security system which he inherited from his predecessor, President Olusegun Obsanjo, was overhauled, the new security regime that greeted Aso Rock has led to the massive movement of new men into the Presidential premises.