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Senate rejects motion seeking to debate Buhari’s Democracy Day speech

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By Henry Umoru

ABUJA—AS the 9th Senate had its first session, yesterday, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan (All Progressives Congress, APC, Yobe North), began by frustrating moves by senators, especially those on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to deliberate the Democracy Day speech of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ndume, Okorocha

To show that he was in charge, Lawan stopped a point of order that would have placed the 9th Senate on a very shaking ground, with the honeymoon almost shattered.

Trouble started barely minutes into the commencement of the first plenary of the 9th Senate when Senator Isitfanus Gyang (PDP, Plateau North) came under Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended) and raised that some parts of the democracy speech by President Buhari did not go down well with some Nigerians as it was generating controversy.

Gyang, who relied on Order 52 of Senate rules, said he was bringing a matter of urgent national importance that had to do with the Democracy Day speech of President Buhari of June 12, 2019.

“This speech is already in the public domain. I am asking that in view of the interest it has generated, we should discuss it,” he said.

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The senator was particularly referring to the areas that relate to where the president was reported to have said that China and Indonesia succeeded under authoritarian regimes and that India succeeded in a democratic setting.

At this point, the Senate President cut short the PDP senator, saying he had to seek the consent of senators for approval as to whether he should proceed or not.

When Lawan asked if the PDP senator should continue, the motion was shut down as the nays carried the day.

Empty offices, monetisation force Senate to adjourn plenary till July 2

Meanwhile, the Senate hurriedly adjourned plenary, yesterday, to resume on Tuesday, July 2, 2019.

The adjournment was informed by lack of office furniture and the fact that outgone senators had gone away with their furniture, refrigerators, printing machines, typewriters, television sets and water dispensers, among others, being result of monetisation.

The adjournment followed a motion moved by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, which was seconded by Senator Philip Aduda (PDP, FCT).

According to the Senate president, the adjournment will give the management and Senate Adhoc Committee members the space to put in place measures to allocate offices and seats.

C’ttee for office, seat allocation

Before the adjournment, the Senate set up a 12 member committee to liaise with the management of the National Assembly for chamber’s seating arrangement and the provision of offices.

The committee, chaired by Senator Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno North), has Senators Aisha Ahmed Modibbo, APC, Adamawa Central; Gabriel Suswam, PDP, Benue North East; Sabi Abdullahi, APC, Niger North; and Betty Appiafi, PDP, Rivers West, as members.

Others  include Bassey Albert, PDP, Akwa Ibom North East; Ibrahim Gobir, APC, Sokoto East; Nicholas Tofowomo, PDP, Ondo South; Adeola Solomon Olamilekan, APC, Lagos West;  Chukwuka Utazi, PDP, Enugu North; Stella Odua, PDP, Anambra North and Jibrin Barau  APC, Kano North.

The committee was given two weeks to complete the assignment and report during plenary.

In his remarks, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who thanked the committee members in advance, said while others would be enjoying the recess, members of the committee would still be working.

The Senate President yesterday administered the oath of office on Rochas Okorocha, APC, as senator for Imo West at 10.40am.


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