When will Ek­w­ere­madu sit on Saraki’s seat?

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - By Ismail Mu­dashir

Tongues are still wag­ging over the abrupt shut­ting down of the Sen­ate last Wed­nes­day by the Sen­ate Pres­i­dent, Bukola Saraki, at the peak of min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees screen­ing.

Saraki had ad­journed the sit­ting to en­able him at­tend to his case at the Code of Con­duct Tri­bunal (CCT) where he is be­ing tried on 13 count charges bor­der­ing on false as­set dec­la­ra­tion.

Con­sti­tu­tion­ally, the Deputy Sen­ate Pres­i­dent pre­sides over the cham­ber in the ab­sence of the Sen­ate Pres­i­dent.

Sec­tion 53 (1a) of the 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion is ex­plicit on the of­fice of the Deputy Sen­ate Pres­i­dent. It states thus: “In the case of the Sen­ate, the Pres­i­dent of the Sen­ate shall pre­side, and in his ab­sence, the Deputy Sen­ate Pres­i­dent shall pre­side.”

Sim­i­larly, the Sen­ate Stand­ing Or­ders 2015 was also clear on the po­si­tion of a Deputy Sen­ate Pres­i­dent. Or­der 27 of the said doc­u­ment read thus: “In the ab­sence of the Sen­ate Pres­i­dent, the Deputy Sen­ate Pres­i­dent shall per­form all the du­ties and func­tions of the Pres­i­dent of the Sen­ate.”

In ret­ro­spect, since his emer­gence on June 9th this year, Saraki has been sit­ting tight on the Sen­ate Pres­i­dent’s seat. He has al­ways been around to pre­side over the af­fairs of the Up­per Cham­ber.

Our cor­re­spon­dent re­ports that last Wed­nes­day could have been the op­por­tu­nity for Ek­w­ere­madu to man the driver’s seat fol­low­ing the case of Saraki at the CCT.

How­ever, the op­por­tu­nity to pre­side over the Sen­ate slipped off Ek­w­ere­madu who de­feated Sen­a­tor Ali Ndume (APC Borno South) to clinch the po­si­tion.

Al­though Ek­w­ere­madu polled 54 and Ndume got 20 votes at the June 9th elec­tion, it was widely be­lieved that his emer­gence was a re­ward to the PDP Sen­a­tors for their sup­port to the can­di­da­ture of Saraki.

Be­fore the ad­journ­ment, the cau­cuses of the APC and the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) met dif­fer­ently where it was re­port­edly agreed that the Red Cham­ber should not be presided over by Ek­w­ere­madu, in view of the on­go­ing hear­ing on min­is­te­rial con­fir­ma­tion.

A PDP sen­a­tor in

an Sen­a­tor Ike Ek­w­ere­madu made profit from the divi­sion in the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) at the Up­per Cham­ber to emerge as the num­ber two sen­a­tor in the coun­try. Our cor­re­spon­dent looks into how Ek­w­ere­madu, a chieftain of the op­po­si­tion Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) is far­ing as the Deputy Sen­ate Pres­i­dent. in­ter­view noth­ing sit­u­a­tion.

“No, the Deputy Sen­ate pres­i­dent has not presided over at the cham­ber be­cause Saraki had al­ways been around. And for last Wed­nes­day’s case, it was a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion that we should ad­journ our sit­ting for a day,” he said.

But one of the prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers of the Red Cham­ber said Ek­w­ere­madu would al­ways find him­self in a tight cor­ner.

“As an op­po­si­tion, his emer­gence could be de­scribed as a very odd sit­u­a­tion but a re­al­is­tic sit­u­a­tion that we found our­selves in.

“The most un­com­fort­able part of it is that when the PDP was in power for 16 years, they didn’t pro­vide room for some­body in the op­po­si­tion to oc­cupy such po­si­tion. But I think the PDP is try­ing to eat its cake and have it which to me is very, very odd.

“We are wait­ing to see how it works but it is a very odd sit­u­a­tion. If I’m to be in the shoes of Ek­w­ere­madu, I will not con­test for the seat of the Deputy Sen­ate Pres­i­dent be­cause how would he be the Deputy Sen­ate Pres­i­dent in a gov­ern­ment that they are mi­nor­ity?

“The sit­u­a­tion is odd as it doesn’t fit in prop­erly be­cause you can­not sep­a­rate the pol­i­tics of the party from the po­si­tion he is oc­cu­py­ing.

said wrong there

with was the There are cer­tain things that the gov­ern­ment wants to im­ple­ment in the in­ter­est of the party, so he will al­ways find him­self in a tight cor­ner. As I said, we will see how the sit­u­a­tion works,” one of the high rank­ing sen­a­tors said.

As­sess­ing the sit­u­a­tion, a Pro­fes­sor of Po­lit­i­cal Econ­omy and Pol­i­tics of De­vel­op­ment at the Bayero Univer­sity Kano (BUK), Habu Fagge said Saraki did the right thing by ad­journ­ing the sit­ting.

“By ad­journ­ing the ple­nary, Saraki has not done any­thing wrong, in fact, he did the right thing be­cause if he had al­lowed Ek­w­ere­madu to chair the sit­ting on that day, it could have led to a big­ger chal­lenge.

“For in­stance, if he pre­sides over and Amaechi was dis­qual­i­fied, it could have given cre­dence to the al­le­ga­tion that he (Saraki) had de­camped to the PDP or was sup­port­ing PDP un­der­ground. The sen­a­tors are united, it is Saraki’s party that is not united,” he said, in a phone in­ter­view.

Speak­ing on the ad­journ­ment of sit­ting, the Sen­ate Leader, Ali Ndume said Ek­w­ere­madu was not al­lowed to take charge of af­fairs at the Sen­ate, last Wed­nes­day, in or­der to avoid hic­cup in the on­go­ing min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees screen­ing.

“We are screen­ing APC min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees of the Fed­eral Re­pub­lic of Nige­ria. And there are is­sues sur­round­ing it that we don’t want any other is­sue out of it again. The pre­sid­ing of­fi­cer is the Sen­ate Pres­i­dent who started the screen­ing and we said we would con­tinue af­ter a day off.

“If you look at the con­sti­tu­tion, it is not ‘must’. It is just like when the pres­i­dent

Ob­servers of the Sen­ate said Ek­w­ere­madu, who has been in the Up­per Cham­ber since 2003 presided over the sit­tings of the Sen­ate on many oc­ca­sions when he was the deputy to Sen­a­tor David Mark, who reigned for eight years.

The ter­rain at that time, ac­cord­ing to ob­servers, was suit­able for Ek­w­ere­madu (PDP, Enugu West) to eas­ily step into Mark’s shoes in his ab­sence, in view of the fact that his party oc­cu­pied ma­jor­ity of the ‘Red’ seats at that time.

In the 8th Sen­ate, APC has 58 sen­a­tors while PDP has 49.

How­ever, the fact that a sen­a­tor from the mi­nor­ity party found his way to be the num­ber two at the hal­lowed cham­ber has re­mained a de­vel­op­ment which many peo­ple are yet to come to terms with.

“I chal­lenge any­one to tell me any­where in the world where an op­po­si­tion party with fewer mem­bers will end up pro­duc­ing a deputy sen­ate pres­i­dent or one of the prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers of the Sen­ate. This hap­pened in Nige­ria be­cause of the knowl­edge, ca­pac­ity, vi­sion as well as team lead­er­ship which (Uche) Se­con­dus and the NWC have pro­vided,” said Chief Olisa Me­tuh, the Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary of the PDP.

As the

as­cen­sion

of

Sen. Bukola Saraki

Sen. Ike Ek­w­ere­madu

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