National Assembly Resumes Plenary Today
By Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu
The two chambers of the National Assembly will today resume plenary, after their Christmas vacation, to commence the 2021 legislative calendar.
The Senate and House of Representatives had adjourned plenary on December 21, 2020, after convening a special session to pass the 2021 budget, and was initially scheduled to resume on January 26, 2021, but the Clerk of the National Assembly, Ojo Amos Olatunde, in a letter, announced the postponement of resumption to February 9, 2021.
In the notice of postponement, he had explained that it was to enable the lawmakers who are members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) participate in the registration and revalidation of its membership, which commenced January 25, and is still ongoing.
As the lawmakers get back to work, several important legislative items are expected to be lined up for consideration.
Aside consideration of crucial bills, resolutions to motions and continuation of probes, specifically in the Senate, the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, is expected to read the letter from President Muhammadu Buhari on the floor of the chamber today, seeking the confirmation of the appointment of the new military Service Chiefs.
Buhari had in a confirmation letter dated January 27, 2021, and addressed to Lawan, requested for the Senate confirmation of the appointment of Major General Lucky Irabor, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, and Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao as Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and Chief of Air Staff respectively.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare, who made this disclosure in a statement titled: ‘Buhari seeks National Assembly’s confirmation of Service Chiefs’, said the president’s confirmation request may have to wait till February 9 when the lawmakers would resume from vacation before it can be considered.
He also stated that this would not be the first time the Buhari administration would be seeking approval of the Senate for appointment of service chiefs, saying similar request were made in 2015 for the outgone Service Chiefs, which was graciously granted by the upper chamber.
Another crucial item expected to be considered today is the nomination of the immediate-past Service Chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari as non-career ambassadors-designate, which has generated heated controversies.
Buhari had on February 4 forwarded the names of the immediate-past Service Chiefs to the Senate as non-career ambassadors-designate.
In a letter to the president of the Senate, President Buhari said: “In accordance with Section 171 (1), (2) (c) and sub-Section (4) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the under-listed five names of nominees as non-career ambassadors-designate.”
The nominees are Gen Abayomi G. Olonisakin (rtd ), Lt Gen Tukur Y. Buratai (rtd), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (rtd), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (rtd), and Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman (rtd).
The president urged the Senate to give expeditious consideration to the nominations.
These, among other important issues, are expected to be the crux of discussion as the legislators resume today.