- 83 Senators back Senate President
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has cautioned the present administration under Muhammadu Buhari to be cautious over the trial of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki. This is coming on the heels of a vote of confidence passed on the leadership of the senate president by 83 senators in a rare show of support and solidarity.
In his resumption speech yesterday, Dogara said the trial being faced by the Senate President was one of such trials the Federal Government should thread with caution because, according to him, “The barometer of the polity has been on the rise of late because of certain developments concerning the arraignment of the President of the Senate.”
He commended Saraki for willingly submitting himself to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, stating that by so doing, he has displayed maturity in leadership as well as showed that no one is above the law.
“I commend the President of the Senate for submitting himself to the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal in the recognition that no person is above the law. I wish to caution that there is need for great circumspection in times such as this in order to maintain proper focus in pursuit of the common good,” Dogara stated.
The Speaker also commended his colleagues for the maturity they displayed during the trial, adding that it would have escalated if not for their solidarity.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 83 of the 109 senators in the federal legislature yesterday passed a vote of confidence on the Senate President, against all odds. This is coming just as the lawmakers declared that their leadership cannot be intimidated by any interest group whatsoever and for whatever reason. The development, according to observers, may have prepared way for the much awaited ministerial list of President Muhammadu Buhari to be unveiled to senators at today’s plenary of the Upper Chamber.
In its first sitting since Saraki appeared before the CCT on alleged false assets declaration charges, the 83 senators comprising all 49 senators of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and 34 lawmakers from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC co-sponsored the confidence motion on Saraki and his leadership. In the motion moved by David Umaru (Niger East), the senators pledged their loyalty to Saraki in the face of his trial at the CCT for “false assets declaration”.
According to Umaru, “the senate remains solidly behind Saraki and other principal officers of the upper chamber,” adding that the senate will not be harassed, intimidated or blackmailed by external forces trying to use propaganda to rubbish the leadership.
Seconding the motion, Ahmed Sani Yerima (Zamfara), said: “if anybody thinks that he can influence the senate from the outside, he should go and sleep.” When the Motion was put to a voice vote, the “ayes” carried the day. However, Senator Babajide Omoworare, a senator from Osun state and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Business and Rules whose name also appeared on the list, had a change of mind as he requested that his name be removed from the list.
According to Senator David Umar who read the motion, it was sponsored by 84 Senators and further stated that the Nigerian Constitution guaranteed separation of powers. He condemned the “ongoing unwarranted media embarrassment of the Senate and the Senate leadership”. Supporting the motion, Yerima, from Zamfara State, said “we shall continue to support our leaders,” adding that the lawmakers’ right to choose their leadership should be respected.
A senator from Zamfara, who is a close ally of Ahmed Lawan, who was APC’s candidate in Saraki’s run up to the senate presidency, engaged the Senate President in a heated argument during the session. However, Senators Gbenga Ashafa and Sola Adeyeye intervened and guided Marafa out of the chamber.
Saraki had earlier recalled his recent travails and said that he was being tried because of his emergence as the Senate President, reiterating his position before the Code of Conduct Tribunal last week.
Some of the senators who endorsed the leadership of Saraki are Stella Oduah, (Anambra), Godswill Akpabio, (Akwa Ibom), David Mark, (Benue), ShehuSani, (Kaduna), Buruji Kashamu, (Ogun) and Ali Ndume, (Borno).
Nigerian Pilot recalls that after frantic attempts by his lawyers to stop him from appearing before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, Saraki finally succumbed and appeared before the CCT where he pleaded not guilty to the 13-count charge levelled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB.