Welfare Matters Force Senate to Adjourn Plenary
- Rejects motion to debate Buhari’s inaugural speech
- Senate, House to resume July 2
- PDP names Abaribe minority leader, Bwacha deputy
Chuks Okocha, Deji Elumoye and Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
The Senate was Thursday forced to adjourn till July 2 following senators’ complaints that they have no office accommodation and lack work tools.
It has, therefore, constituted a 12-man ad hoc committee to look into the matter after an executive session of the senators that lasted for about an hour.
The House of Representatives has also adjourned plenary till July 2 just as it sets up three ad hoc committees to oversee the activities of the Green Chamber.
The adjournment came as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), after a meeting of party leaders with the Senate caucus, picked former Abia State Deputy Governor, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, as the minority leader while Senator Emmanuel Bwacha from Taraba South retained his position of deputy minority leader.
Senator Philips Aduda (FCT) also retained his post as the minority whip.
A ranking senator told THISDAY after plenary that the closed-door session deliberated on the complaints about non-availability of offices for both returning and fresh senators.
Senators, across political divide, told the meeting that they were unable to perform their legislative duties as there were no offices to operate from.
They reportedly complained of operating from their personal cars in the last two legislative days and said they could not continue this way.
THISDAY gathered that the Senate leadership after listening to the complaints, decided to take immediate remedial steps, including adjourning sitting to address the issues.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly was initially scheduled to proceed on recess next Thursday but had a rethink due to the aforementioned reasons.
Findings yesterday revealed that all the offices of the two principal officers and 107 other senators were virtually empty as members of the Eighth Senate went home with the office equipment.
The Clerk of the Senate, Nelson Ayewoh, had in a memo to the outgone senators, gave them the go-ahead to go away with the office items that include refrigerators, photocopying machines, television sets, settees, printers.
The items which were given to each of the disengaged senators at a token price of N375,000, to be deducted from their severance allowances, were packed out of the offices last week.
The Senate has also set up a 12-member ad hoc committee to liaise with the management of the National Assembly on issues bordering on allocation of seats and offices to the senators.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan said at the end of the closed-door session that the committee should submit its report in two weeks.
The committee, headed by Senator Abubakar Kyari (Borno North), has as members Senators Aisha Ahmed Modibo (Adamawa Central), Gabriel Suswam (Benue North East), Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North), Betty Apiafi (Rivers West), Akpan Bassey (Akwa Ibom North East) and Barau Jibrin (Kano North).
Other members of the committee are Senators Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East), Olubukola Tofowomo (Ondo South), Adeola Olamilekan (Lagos West), Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North) and Stella Oduah (Anambra North).
The committee will work with Ayewoh towards ensuring that seats and offices are allocated to all the senators within the time frame.
However, the Senate, at its plenary, rejected a motion to debate the National Democracy Day speech delivered on Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senator Dung Gyang (Plateau North) had come under Order 55 of Senate Rules to bring matter of urgent national importance that has to do with the president’s inaugural speech.
According to him, “this speech is already in the public domain. I am asking that in view of the interest it has generated…”
At this point, Lawan cut him short, saying he needed to seek the consent of other senators whether he should proceed with the motion or not.
Lawan, therefore, put the motion to a voice vote and the nays carried the day.
The Senate later adjourned plenary till July 2 to allow enough time for the allocation of seats and offices to senators.
This was sequel to a motion to this effect moved by Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege and seconded by Senator Philip Aduda.
House of Representatives Sets up Three Ad Hoc Committees
At its plenary yesterday, the House of Representatives set up three ad hoc committees to oversee the activities of the legislative House.
The ad hoc committees are: Committee on Selection, Committee on Media and Committee on Welfare.
The House also adjourned plenary till July 2 to allow members embark on a two-week break to settle down for legislative business.
Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin told reporters that Hon. Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim would head the 10-man ad hoc committee on media pending the setting up of substantive committees.
Briefing the reporters on the outcome of the House executive session, Ibrahim said the lawmakers were determined to forge ahead as elections are over.
“We belong to one whole House. There are not going to be any prejudices, there is not going to be leaning towards one party. We are going to work towards the unity and progress of our country; as one together. We must do it. In brotherhood we all stand.
“The traditional victory party which normally holds after elections have been conducted for Mr. Speaker has been cancelled due to the fact that we have a lot of work to do and in the two weeks within which we have been given our recess we are going to work, we are not going on holiday. New members are going to look for accommodation and come together and try and settle down in Abuja,” he added.
PDP Names Abaribe Senate Minority Leader, Bwacha Deputy
Meanwhile, after a three-hour meeting between members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and its elected senators, the PDP yesterday announced Abaribe as the minority leader in the Senate.
Abaribe, a former deputy governor, is from Abia State.
Also appointed is Bwacha as deputy minority leader while Senator Philip Aduda from the Federal Capital Territory retained his former post of minority whip and Senator Clifford Ordia from Edo State emerged the deputy minority whip.
The meeting to decide on the positions held at the Abuja residence of the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.
The party’s NWC will meet its members in the House of Representatives today for the selection of its principal officers.