…Senate in rowdy session over sitting arrangement as Saraki stops Akpabio
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—FOR more than 30 minutes, yesterday, the Senate was in rowdy session over sitting arrangement, as Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, also prevented the immediate past Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio (APC, Akwa Ibom North West), from using an unrecognized microphone to speak.
Trouble started when Akpabio called for recognition to speak, but was denied the opportunity by the Senate President on the grounds that he cannot speak using another senator’s microphone.
Akpabio stood up to speak shortly after the chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan (PDP, Akwa Ibom North East), had raised the alarm of alleged plans by the APC in his state to cause mayhem and ensure that the 2019 general elections do not hold.
Akpan, who rose through Order 43 of the Senate standing rule under self explanation, alleged that leaders of APC in Akwa Ibom State were plotting to scuttle the gubernatorial election scheduled for March 2, 2019, to pave way for an isolated election to be rigged with federal might.
He said: “Mr President, I rise through Order 43 under self explanation to draw the attention of the Senate and by extension, the good people of Nigeria to a plot being hatched by the leadership of the APC in Akwa Ibom State to cause mayhem in the state during the gubernatorial election slated for Saturday, March 2, 2019 across 29 states in the country .
“The plot of the Akwa Ibom APC chieftains to scuttle the election through violence, is to ensure cancellation of the election in the state on that day for an isolated exercise later, upon which the so called federal might would now be used to rig it in favour of their candidate.”
Apparently angered by Akpan’s submissions, Senator Akpabio immediately reacted through a different point of order but was rebuffed by the Senate president for allegedly sitting on a wrong place without a microphone .
Attempts by Akpabio to speak and his subsequent disallowed led to near physical assaults among senators of the two major parties— APC and PDP.
Saraki disallowed Akpabio from using the microphone of the former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, saying since the former Akwa Ibom governor was sitting on a seat where there was no microphone, there was no way he would be allowed to raise any issue there.
Saraki’s action aggravated the situation with the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan (APC Yobe North), who stood up from his seat to kick against the action .
For this reason, the hallowed chamber became very rowdy as moves by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, to restore sanity through a point of order proved abortive.
At this point, the Senate president had to quickly intervene by explaining that Akpabio was prevented from speaking because he wanted to do so from a seat without microphone and not allocated to him by the Clerk of the Senate, Nelson Ayewoh .