Senate to Amend Standing Rules Next Week

Ahmed Lawan
  •  Mourns ex-Senate President Wayas

Deji Elumoye and Juliet Akoje in Abuja

The Senate has finalised moves to amend its over six-year-old Standing Rules by next week for better running of the legislative arm.

This is just as the Red Chamber mourned the Second Republic Senate President, Dr Joseph Wayas, describing him as a stabiliser of the relationship between the executive and legislature from 1979 to 1983.

At Wednesday’s plenary, the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, disclosed that the chamber will next Tuesday amend the 2015 Senate Standing Orders.

According to him, the decision to amend the Senate Rules was to ensure an improvement to enable the chamber run itself better.

He said: “The copies of the proposal will be distributed today (Wednesday) and the idea for all of us to study between now and Monday, and on Tuesday we will look into the amendments proposed.

“So, if any of us have any idea of an additional thing or suggestion on what has been introduced, by Tuesday we should be able to have our position.

“It is inevitable that the standing orders as they are today have to be amended for us to be up-to-date with everything that we do here.”

Also on Wednesday, the Senate President said the Second Republic Senate President, Wayas, ensured harmony between the executive and legislature when he held sway as Senate President between 1979 and 1983.

Lawan discloses this while paying tribute to the deceased following the consideration of a motion brought to the floor by the Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi.

According to him, late Wayas while serving as a presiding officer, was particularly concerned about ensuring peace, productivity and proficiency within the legislative arm of government.

He said: “Let me join our colleague who made remarks over the death of Senator Joseph Wayas, the third President of the Senate in the second republic.

“Senator Joseph Wayas as a presiding officer, President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, brought peace, productivity and proficiency in the legislature then.

“[And] of course, they had a very good working relationship between the two major arms of government (legislature and executive).

“Even though they had a House of Representatives that was presided over by another political party, he was able to manage the Senate and the House of Representatives in such a manner that there was productivity and high turnout of legislative interventions that made the executive arm of government at the time to function.

“For us, we have lessons to learn from his skills in running the affairs of the National Assembly then and the Senate, in particular.

“We have been managing ourselves here, in the way and manner that President of the Senate, Joseph Wayas, ran the Senate in 1979 to 1983.

“I believe that he had a decent life, and was not a controversial person and very open minded like all of us said.”

Earlier, the sponsor of the motion, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, while coming under order 42 and 52, had noted “with shock the demise of Senator Joseph Wayas, former Senate President of Nigeria in the Second Republic who died on Tuesday, 30th November, 2021 at the age of 80″.

According to him, with the transition to civil rule in 1979, Wayas was elected to the Senate on the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) platform and appointed Senate President.

He represented the Ogoja Senatorial District alongside Senator Joseph Oqua Ansa who represented Calabar Senatorial District.

He expressed regrets that Wayas’ demise is a great loss to his family, the people of Cross River North and the Government of Cross-River State.

Contributing, Senator James Manager (Delta South) described the deceased as a man of dignity and a committed Nigerian who loved his people and the nation and was role model to younger generation leaders.

“He (Wayas) represented across River North in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and to rise to being elected by people to represent them in a Senatorial district and among colleagues as presiding officer (President of the Senate) is a serious achievement in the life of every man.

Senator Manager called on the Senate to immortalize the deceased in accordance with the tradition of the upper chamber.

On her part, Senator Biodun Olujimi described the late Joseph Wayas as a “quintessential gentleman” who was detribalized in his approach to issues of governance.

She admonished Nigerian leaders to emulate the life of the deceased by ensuring they use their positions to the benefit of Nigerians and the nation.

She said: “Mr. President, we have been having so many deaths recently, and we are losing so many of our great minds. The time has come for us to have a change of attitude to everything, so that when someone dies we can say good things about them.

“This is the time to take Nigeria seriously. This is the time for us that are positioned in this chambers to take a different look at Nigeria, so that when we are old and gone, people can say when we were here, we made a whole lot of difference.”

Accordingly, the Senate observed a minute silence in honour of the late Wayas and also resolved to work with the government of Cross Rivers State and to fully participate in his burial.

The chamber, in its prayers, further resolved to send a condolence letter to commiserate with the family, the good people of his constituency and the Government of Cross River State.