Members of the Senate Unity Forum (SUF), led by Senators Ahmad Lawan and George Akume – the favoured candidates of the All Progressives Congress for the offices of Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively – staged a walked out during plenary sitting on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 over the decision of Senate President Bukola Saraki to allow Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President to preside over the sitting in his absence.
This would be the first time since the inauguration of the eighth senate the Ekweremadu would preside over plenary and was as a result of Saraki’s presence at the Presidetial Villa where he had gone to attend the inauguration of new ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Of the 60 APC Senators in the upper chamber, only 27 remained on their seats, while 40 PDP senators were present.
As a result of the recent death of Adedotun Durojaiye, the Acting Clerk of the Senate, Ekweremadu adjourned plenary until Tuesday, November 17, 2015, referring President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the confirmation of Babatunde Fowler as the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS); Ahmed Kuru as the Managing Director of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), and three other executive directors of AMCON to the Senate Committee on Finance.
Secretary of the SUF, Suleiman Hunkuyi (APC, Kaduna North) who spoke via a statement said that he and his colleagues boycotted the senate sitting because “the minority cannot preside over the majority.”
Speaking further, he said: “We noticed with grave sadness, the handover of the hallowed chamber of the Senate today to the opposition party, the PDP by allowing Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a PDP stalwart, to preside over the APC majority senators.”
The SUF legislators vowed to keep boycotting plenary sitting whenever Ekweremadu presides, as they will never recognise him as the Deputy Senate Prasident.
Meanwhile the Senate spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, said Nigerians should disregard the SUF stance.
He said: “The bi-partisan stand of the Senate has not and will not be an impediment.”