Lack of Quorum Forces Senate to Adjourn By One Week

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Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate yesterday adjourned plenary for one week over its inability to form a quorum of 37 members.
Senate’s Standing Rule under Order 10(3) stipulates that for Senate to form a quorum, one third of the total 109 members must be present during a legislative session.

Less than five minutes into plenary which began at about 10.55 a.m with Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki presiding, Senate Minority Whip , Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda ( FCT), rose through Order 10(3) of the Senate’ s standing rules to draw the attention of his colleagues to the lack of quorum and the need for the adjournment .

According to him, since the stated order states that “a session of the senate can only be held when the required quorum of 37 members out of 109 is formed, the Senate should adjourn the sitting till next legislative day”.

He observed that “We are less than 10, Mr. President, I want to move that since we have not formed quorum, we may therefore adjourn but in doing so, I want to say that the Senate is empty because various committees are carrying out oversight duties; they are all over the country, ensuring that the budget is performing.

“On that note, the Senate may wish to extend the period of oversight functions if the senate so wish by another week till Tuesday, November 20”.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, seconded the motion saying, “I rise to second the motion ably moved by Senator Aduda but let me add that we are more than 10 but certainly not up to 38. We are somewhere between 15 and 20. Just for the record we are not less than 10 but less than 20”
At this point, Saraki put the issue to voice vote and got overwhelming adoption from the 20 senators in the chambers .

But after the motion had been adopted, Saraki said: “it is important that our members who are not here, we should communicate to them, those on oversight to finish what they have during the week – in the area of oversight.

“Some of the findings from the oversight are important and it is important that the exercise is done diligently and we should ensure that it is completed by the end of this week. That is in line with order 10 (3)”.

Speaking while moving the motion for adjournment of the plenary till Tuesday, November 20 , Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan ( Yobe North) said : ” having adopted this motion it is mandatory that we stand down all the items on the order paper to the next legislative week , precisely next week Tuesday, November 20, 2018 ” and was seconded by the Senate Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha ( Taraba South).

Yesterday’s adjournment of plenary due to lack of quorum was the first time the 8th Senate under Saraki was unable to form a quorum for any legislative sitting since June 9, 2015.