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New rule bars fresh Senators from contesting as presiding officers

With only few days to the end of the present senate, a new amendment to the Senate Standing Order that would effectively shut the door against new senators seeking to contest the office of the President of the Senate or the deputy is being introduced.

The amendment, which is scheduled for debate through a motion listed for May 17, 2011, also provides that any business of the Senate which is undetermined at the end of a Senate session shall be continued in the next session.

In the amendment, which is being proposed by the Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin, a new rule 3(2) is to be inserted in the Senate Standing Order which reads that “nomination of senators to serve as presiding officers and appointments of principal officers and other officers of the Senate or any parliamentary delegations shall be in accordance with the ranking of the  senators.”

In an explanation on how ranking would be determined, the proposed amendment states that in “determining ranking, the following order shall apply: Senators returning based on a number of times re-elected; senators who had been members of the House of Representatives, senators who have been members of a state House of Assembly or any other Legislative House and Senators elected as senators for the first time.”

If passed, it would mean that former governors like Danjuma Goje, Bukola Saraki, Abdullahi Adamu and Joshua Dariye as well as former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Barnabas Gemade, would occupy the last rung of the Senate ladder ranking.

Other amendments being proposed, which would positively affect the senate, however, is that bills which are not concluded at the end of the senate session would be carried over to the next legislative session.

The new amendment being proposed states that “the legislative business of the senate which remains undetermined at the close of session of the Senate shall be resumed and proceeded with in the same manner as if no adjournment of the senate had taken place; and all papers referred to the committees and not reported upon at the close of the session of the senate shall be returned to the office of the clerk of the senate and retained until the next session of the senate when they shall be returned to the several committees to which they had previously been referred.”

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