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Impeachment threats: Calm in Senate as APC caucus chickens out

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Oloriegbe vows to surpass Saraki's records in Senate

…Saraki reads 12 bill rejected by Buhari

Against the much expected fracas and commotions on the floors of both chambers of the National Assembly following the threats by the All Progressives Congress, APC caucuses to impeach their presiding officers, the atmosphere was cool and calm throughout the plenaries.

Members of the federal legislature resumed from a 10-week recess after initial postponement from July 25 date of resumption to October 9, being yesterday.

The plan to effect leadership change was due to the recent defection of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Taking Diagram from the ruling APC to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Specifically, the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan (APC Yobe North) had last Saturday in Abuja assured the national leadership of APC during the affirmation of President Muhammadu Buhari as the standard bearer of the party in the 2019 general elections, that Saraki would be removed as the Senate President.

Also, a top member of the Buhari Legislative Support Group in the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, in an interview with journalists on Monday, insisted that Saraki cannot continue to preside over the upper legislative chamber as a member of the opposition party.

In his address, Lawan said: “I want Nigerians to know that the number of senators of APC in the Senate remains the largest. I want to call the attention of everyone here to the fact that democracy, as defined by people, remains government of the majority, where minority will always have their say.

“Now, we have our chamber dominated and occupied by minority leaders. They remain minority leaders occupying our positions. Those who refuse to follow the part of honour and integrity by exiting; we will send them out with ignominy”.

But at the plenary yesterday, the Senate Leader not only dutifully carried out his function under the presiding authority of Saraki but led other APC senators through the isle to have handshake with Saraki, his deputy Ike Ekweremadu and other principal officers across party lines.

Even other APC senators like Ovie Omo-Agege (APC Delta Central) known to have vowed to impeach Saraki on resumption, attended the plenary without raising any point of order or making any move to that effect.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari in separate letters forwarded to the Senate during the just ended long recess, refused assent to a total of 12 bills and considerations for five different requests.

The seventeen different letters from the President issued between June and September, 2018 were all read by the Senate President.

In the categories of bills rejected by the President were, the one on Institute of Entrepreneurship (Establishment) Bill 2018, Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2018, Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018 and Development Income Tax Relief (Amendment) Bill 2018.

Others are the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018, Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences (Amendment) Bill 2017, National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (Establishment) Bill 2018, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (Amendment) Bill 2017, National Research and Innovation Council (Establishment) Bill 2017, National Agricultural Seeds Council Bill 2018 and Subsidiary Legislation (Legislative Scrutiny) Bill 2018.

In the categories of requests made by the President for consideration and approval of the Senate were an executive bill titled : “Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill (2018), request for confirmation of appointment of Olanipekun Olukoyede as the Secretary of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, N346.5billion 2018 statutory budget proposal for Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and raising of external capital of $2.786 billion from international capital market approved in the 2018 Appropriation Act and $82.54million to refinance the balance of $500m matured eurobond in the international capital market.

In reaction to the turnover of bills rejection, the Senate Leader called for establishment of a technical committee by the Senate to look into them for possible way out.

The Senate however couldn’t hold full plenary due to the death of Hon Olufunke Adedoyin from Kwara State who died penultimate Friday

In line with tradition of the National Assembly both chambers, adjourned their full plenary sessions till today in honour of their departed colleague.

The Senate President entered the chambers with some principal officers at 11.04am and went on short closed doors executive session from 11.08 to 11.20am after which they continue with their exchange of greetings and banters before the house was called to order at 11.32am by Saraki who presided over the plenary.

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