There was mild drama in the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 as 81 members of the Upper Chamber passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of Senate President, Bukola Sara, his Deputy Ike Ekweremadu and the entire leadership of the Senate.
Interestingly, the motion which was moved by Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo East) and seconded by Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi State) was supported by 47 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and 34 All Progressives Congress (APC) senators, including some notable ”anti-Saraki” senators like Senators Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central); Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa West); Monsurat Sunmonu (APC, Oyo Central); Olanrewaju Tejuoso (APC, Ogun Central) and Bukar Abba Ibrahim (APC, Yobe East).
Other APC senators who supported the motion were Other APC senators who co-authored the motion were Adamu Aliero, Ibrahim Gobir, Mohammed Ohiare, David Umaru, Tijjani Yahaya Kaura, Ahmed Rufai Sani, Sabo Mohammed, Mallam Wakili, Ibn Nara’ Allah, Danjuma Goje, Francis Alimikhena, Salihu Egye, Ibrahim Abdullahi and Binta Masi Garba among others.
Moving the motion, Senator Anyanwu, who moved the motion in line with orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended) said he had noted with dismay “the continued harassment of the Senate and senators, the National Assembly management and spouses of senators by security agencies of government.
“Determined to continue to perform its constitutional duties and responsibilities without fear or favour;
“Further determined to focus on matters of interest and importance to the ordinary people of Nigeria in view of the enormous challenges facing the nation;
“Considering the sustained interference in the internal affairs of the Senate by detractors and media propaganda against the Senate and Senators by selfish politicians;
“The Senate, hereby, resolves to pass a vote of confidence on: (a) the President of the Senate, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki; ( b) the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; (c) the entire Senate leadership as presently constituted;
“To call on the Nigeria Police Force and all other security agencies in Nigeria not to allow themselves to be used by any person or persons to harass, intimidate or blackmail the Senate, senators and or their spouses.”
After the motion was moved and seconded, Saraki called for a voice vote with 81 Senators passing a vote of confidence while there was no single dissenting voice again the motion.
The Senate further asked the Nigerian Police, Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies to desist from being used by certain individuals to intimidate, harass or blackmail senators or their spouses.
Following plenary, pro-Lawan Senator, George Akume (Benue, APC) while addressing journalists disagreed on the proceedings of plenary, especially the emergence of former Akwa Ibom Governor, Godswill Akpabio as Senate Minority Leader.
Regarding the ballot, he said: “of course, they never allowed any counter-motion. For me as a senator and for us, we still believe that the senate, dominated by the APC could do better, we want to believe and strongly that the positions (Senate Leadership) remain vacant, the four positions are still vacant.
“The party leadership conveyed this to the Senate President in line with established tradition and convention.
“Leadership is based on ranking and I’m surprised that even the Senator Ekweremadu who has been there for so many years would rise up to support this.”
Speaking also, Senator Akpabio (Akwa Ibom, PDP) enthused thus: “For me, this was extremely important for people to know that the Senate is bigger than them.
“If you look at it, somebody just pointed out that among those who signed the paper were about 46 Senators of the PDP and about 81 people have signed.
“That means that if all the entire 49 senators of PDP, had signed, we probably would be having like 85 people out of 109 saying look, we believe in this leadership.
“I think its a big indication to the ruling party, the APC”