Okechukwu Jombo writes that the position of two groups on the
legality and illegality of the emergence of Bukola Saraki as Senate President is
opening a new vista in the leadership tussle between him and APC

When aggrieved All
Progressives Congress,
APC, senators protested the
emergence of Senators Bukola
Saraki and Ike Ekweremmadu
as Senate President and
Deputy respectively, they
raised various points of law
which included quorum.
To appraise these points
one need to look into the
constitution and senate
Standing rule books to judge if
they are right or wrong.
They made their allegations
in two forum one under the
aegis of Senators Unity Forum
and during plenary session.
Under the forum led by
Senator Barnabas Gemade,
while briefing the Senate
Correspondents they alleged
that Quorum was not formed
for there to be an election of
the principal officers that they
needed two third to be able to
do that, and not one third as
they claimed.
That the Clark of the National
Assembly erred by conducting
the elections before swearing
in the Senators elect that revise
should have been the case.
During the briefing, attended
by 22 senators from the group,
they claimed that Saraki’s
election did not fulfill the
election requirement for
electing a president of the
Senate because every Senator
is supposed to be in attendance
and that this was not done.
Gemade, who spoke for the
forum, said that 51 senators
were denied the right to
take part in the election of
Saraki because they were at
the International Conference
Centre in Abuja for a scheduled
meeting with President
Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the group had
resolved to challenge the
“illegality” in court “since it
takes two-third of members to
impeach the Senate President,
two third of the members
should also, have been in
attendance before he, (Saraki)
was elected on Tuesday”
The Benue State-born
lawmaker, said, “Our right
to participate in the election
of the Senate President is a
constitutional right which
cannot be taken by any person
or group of persons.
“The Clerk of the National
Assembly, (Salisu Maikasuwa),
knowing full well that the
quorum for election of the
Senate President was not
met, he still went ahead to
conduct an election that shut
the door against about 51 other
senators. This will remain
unacceptable until what would
meet democratic parameters is
done.
“The insinuations in some
quarters that we boycotted the
election are totally unfounded.
As loyal party members,
we would take all necessary
political and legal means to
strengthen our democracy and
democratic process in line with
the change that we promised our
teeming supporters during our
electioneering.”
Gemade insisted that the
election of Saraki was null and
void because “a quorum was not
formed, which should be twothird
of the senators present.”
He said, “53 senators were out
and the remaining 56 were not
enough to elect the President
of the Senate. That is a clear
position that we take. We are not
considering the attendance of
that day to connote the quorum
in the Senate because many
Senators came there after the
event was done.”
Saraki had after his election
on Tuesday, administered oath
of office and allegiance on 75
senators.
When he was elected, there
were 23 APC senators and 34
PDP senators in attendance.
But when the election of his
deputy (Ike Ekweremadu, a PDP
lawmaker) was being conducted,
the number rose to 75.
But at about 8.30pm on
Wednesday, Gemade, Lawan
and 26 other members of the
forum gathered at the Senate
chamber waiting for Saraki
to formally swear them in as
senators.
The senators, after the votes
and proceedings of the previous
legislative day were adopted,
took turn to take their oaths
by reading it out aloud and
appending their signatures.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson
for the Like Minds Senators,
Dino Melaye, has clarified that
former Senate President, David
Mark, was not sworn in as the
Majority Leader of the Senate as
reported by the media.
He said, “It is not possible for a
minority senator to be a Majority
Leader. What happened is that
out of respect for the former
Senate President, he was sworn
in as an individual instead of the
groupings that took place. So,
we are using this opportunity to
correct the erroneous impression
out there that he was sworn in as
the Senate Leader.”
The Kogi State indigene also
dispelled reports that 12 APC
senators joined the PDP to elect
the new Senate President.
“That is totally baseless and
not true. To start with, not all
the 49 senators of the PDP were
present when the election of
the Senate President took place.
This is malicious, capricious and
there was no voting in the case of
Senate President,” Melaye said.
He described as untrue, reports
that 54 senators were present
during the inauguration.
“That is totally baseless and
not true. To start with, not all
the 49 senators of the PDP were
present when the election of the
Senate President took place,” the
lawmaker added.
It will be recalled that 57 out of
108 senators had nominated and
endorsed Saraki, the APC senator
for Kwara Central Senatorial
District and Ekweremmadu,
representing Enugu West
Senatorial District.
Attempts made by some
aggrieved APC senators
like Senator Kabir Marafa,
representing Zamfara Central
Senatorial District on the
platform of the APC, to revisit
the matter failed when he raised
a “point of order” over the
election at the plenary.
Marafa explained that 51
senators, including himself,
were waiting to attend a
meeting called by President
Muhammadu Buhari when
Saraki was returned unopposed
as the Senate President and
Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate
President.
Citing order 43 of the Senate,
Marafa said as a member of
the 7th Assembly, he had
no recollection that Senate’s
Standing on the order had
been amended.
Corroborating, Senator
Barnabas Gemade, (APC
Benue North-East), said the
conduct of the election in
the absence of the senators
breached their constitutional
privilege.
Gemade said the elections,
if not revisited would cause
disunity in the Senate, which
had enjoyed unity in the past.
He said: “It behooves on
you to ensure that equal
participation must be given to
all concerned.
“For this reason, may I
conclude that your ruling by
the wave of hand on the issue
of privilege raised earlier was
too casual?”
The Senate president,
however, ruled that the
senators were out of order.
Also speaking, Senator
Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe
Central) said the senators were
constitutionally supposed to
be at the National Assembly
for the inauguration.
“I want to put it on record
that anybody who decided to
go for whatever meeting is on
his own,” Goje said.
The aggrieved senators,
thereafter, walked out of the
hallowed chambers in protest.
Meanwhile, Ekerenmadu,
in a motion moved on the
floor of the Senate, urged
that a letter be sent to Buhari
informing him of the election
of the presiding officers of the
Senate.
He also urged that a
congratulatory message
be sent to the speaker and
deputy speaker of the House
of Representatives.
He also moved that
“a message be sent
to the African Union,
Commonwealth Parliament,
Inter-Parliamentary Union,
ECOWAS Parliament,
Pan-African Parliament
and Association of Senate,
Shoora and Equivalent
Council in Africa and the
Arab World.
“There is need to officially
inform the bodies that a
quorum of the Senate of
the 8th National Assembly
has assembled and ready to
receive any communication.”
Earlier, 28 senators,
including Senator Ahmed
Lawan, APC’s choice for
senate presidency; Senator
George Akume, his running
mate; and Gemade, were
sworn in on Wednesday


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