Only 36 senators, 25 APC, 11 PDP backed move
By Henry Umoru, Assistant Politics Editor
MOVES by the Senate to pass a vote of confidence in the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan and the leadership of the 9th Upper Chamber, on Tuesday, suffered a major setback as a motion to that effect was stepped down for inadequate support.
According to the motion, the lawmakers were to pass a vote of confidence in the leadership of the 9th National Assembly and particularly commend the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan and urge all senators to sustain the goodwill of the Senate under the current leadership.
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The motion was also to call on Nigerians, the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to support the 9th National Assembly in its determination to pass legislations that will impact meaningfully on Nigerians and take the country to the next level.
However, the motion was dropped because of the few number of co-sponsors.
According to a source, sensing that the motion may be defeated, it was stood down for another Legislative day, an indication that some senators may not be comfortable with the present leadership style.
A source said that some senators were not aware of the motion and there is need to go to the drawing board and get more senators to sign in as co- sponsors.
The motion titled: “ Vote of Confidence on the leadership of the National Assembly” was sponsored by the immediate past Governor of Borno State and Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Kashim Shettima, All Progressives Congress, APC; Borno Central.
Of the 109 member, the motion was co- sponsored by 35 other senators, with a breakdown of 25 on the platform of the APC, and 11 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Prominent among the co- sponsors include former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, APC, Borno South; Danjuma Goje, APC, Gombe Central; James Manager, PDP, Delta South; George Sekibo, PDP, Rivers East; Peter Nwaoboshi, PDP, Delta North; Emmanuel Bwacha, Deputy Minority Leader, PDP, Taraba South; Bassey Albert Akpan, PDP, Akwa Ibom North East; Aliyu Wammako, APC, Sokoto North; and Gabriel Suswam, PDP, Benue North East.
There are also Rochas Okorocha, APC, Imo West; Ibrahim Gaidam, APC, Yobe East; Bello Mandiya, APC, Katsina South; Olubunmi Adetunmbi, APC, Ekiti North; Ibikunle Amosun, APC, Ogun Central; Adamu Aliero, APC, Kebbi Central; Uba Sani, APC, Kaduna Central; Jibrin Isah, APC, Kogi East, Shuiabu Lau, PDP, Taraba North; Abdulfatai Buhari, APC, Oyo North; and Sadiq Umar, APC, Kwara North among others.
To stand the motion till another Legislative day, Deputy Majority Whip; Senator Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi, APC, Niger North, who acted as Senate Leader during plenary, moved a motion that the motion be dropped and was supported by the Senate Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda, PDP, Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
In the motion, Senator Shettima said that “The Senate:Observed with satisfaction, the stability and unity of purpose witnessed by the 9th National Assembly under the leadership of Senator Ahmad Lawan since its inauguration on Tuesday, 11th June, 2019; and also “Notes with much satisfaction the modest achievement of the 9th National Assembly in the discharge of its constitutional responsibility with much diligence and candour as exhibited by the Senate through:
“The realignment of the Budget Calendar from the January-December budget circle through the timely passage of the 2020 Appropriation Bill on Thursday, 5th December, 2019;
“The timely passage of the Finance Bill 2019 to drive the Fiscal Reforms as proposed for the 2020 Financial year;
“The timely passage of the Public Procurement Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to reposition the procurement process; The timely passage of the Production Sharing Contract Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019 given its potential to impact on the revenue base of the Federal Government;
“Timely consideration/Screening and confirmation of Ministerial Nominees to ensure immediate commencement and implementation of government policies in line with this administration agenda;
“Impressed by the existing cooperation among all Senators and indeed members of the National Assembly in the interest of the nation and the improved Executive – Legislative relation; and Further impressed by the selfless and patriotic leadership of the 9th National Assembly generally to work for Nigeria and Nigerians in line with its legislative Agenda.”
Recall that in the heat of the crisis at the beginning of the 8th Senate led by Senator Bukola Saraki, 84 senators had on September 28, 2015, passed a vote of confidence in Saraki, its then deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and the entire Senate leadership.
The vote of confidence was sequel to a motion by then Senator David Umaru, APC, Niger East.
The September 28, 2015 vote of confidence in Saraki which was the second in two months after the first one in July, came from a motion sponsored by Senator David Umaru and seconded by then Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima, another APC member from Zamfara State, and co-sponsored by 81 other senators.
The vote of confidence which was in pursuant to Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Order 2015 was signed then by 48 senators elected on the platform of the PDP and 35 senators elected on the platform of the APC.
According to Umaru, the senate would not entertain unwarranted embarrassment that was being served on the senate leadership and would neither succumb to cheap blackmail.
Like was down for Saraki, it is to be seen if Lawan will get the same vote.