How Saraki, Dogara defied ‘powers that be’

SENATE…Intrigues, high drama at NASS leadership elections 

Yesterday’s activities began with the reading of President Muhammadu Buhari’s proclamation by the Clerk of National Assembly (CNA), Abubakar Salisu Maikasuwa.

The CNA then ordered the Clerk of the Senate to take the role call of Senators-elect present, at the end of which 57 Senators responded to their names.

The number also passed for quorum, which was required for the exercise. Before further exercise, the CNA cautioned all Senators-elect against raising any Point of Order in the course of events.

This reaction may have been prompted by an attempt by a Senator-elect to call the Clerk’s attention to the fact that some Senators-elect were not in the chamber.

Shortly afterwards, the Clerk called for nominations for the post of Senate President. Senator Bukola Saraki of North Central was nominated by Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima of Zamfara State. His nomination was seconded by Dino Melaye of Kogi West.

The Clerk quickly called on Saraki to either accept or decline the nomination – a call that was quickly heeded by Saraki in affirmation. The Clerk then called for another nomination. But there was absolute silence on the floor of the Senate as no other nomination was made.

Then Maikasuwa returned Saraki opposed. For the position of Deputy Senate President, Senator-elect, Ike Ekweremadu was nominated by Senator-elect, George Sekibo and seconded by Olaka Nwogu of Rivers State. Senator-elect Ali Ndume was also nominated for the same position of the Deputy Senate President. After the acceptance of nominations by the two candidates, voting was conducted by secret ballot.

At the end of the exercise that lasted about one hour, Ekweremadu emerged winner with 54 votes. Ali Ndume scored 20 votes. One abstained.

A total of 75 senators-elect took part in the election of the deputy Senate president. Consequently, both the Senate President and his deputy were sworn in by the Clerk of the National Assembly. Events leading to the emergence of Saraki as the President of the Eighth Senate could be said to have started early in the morning with a scheduled meeting of APC senators.

They were said to have gathered  at the International Conference Centre where they were expecting Mr. President to wade into the issue of Senate leadership, which appeared to have divided the party.

Recall that the battle of who becomes the President of the Eighth Senate was between Saraki and Ahmed Lawan. At the weekend, the party endorsed Lawan as a consensus candidate – a development that did not go down well with Saraki.

The Kwara State-born politician had, through colleagues loyal to him otherwise known as Senators of Like Minds, sought a transparent election between him and Lawan on the floor of the Senate in line with Senate rules.

Having lost the support of the majority of APC members in a primary election that was alleged to be highly influenced by party chieftains, Saraki and his key supporters moved swiftly to bargain with the 49-member PDP caucus and the deal was struck in the early hours of yesterday, when the national leadership of PDP promptly directed its party members in the Senate to vote enbloc for the candidature of Saraki.

The APC caucus on the side of Saraki was also smart to have agreed to the condition given by PDP to produce the Deputy President of the Senate. It was gathered that APC Senators on the side advised their own candidate, Ndume to step down for Ekweremadu despite pockets of protest from that camp.

Unfortunately, at the time the roll call was taken, Lawan and most of his supporters were not in the chamber even though majority of Senators-elect were already presented as reflected in the roll call of 57 members announced by the Clerk of National Assembly.

When some of the Senators-elect at ICC learnt that election has begun, they rushed to the Senate. By then, it was too late.

Former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso was among the few pro-Lawan Senators-elect that entered the chamber after Saraki had been sworn in. Disappointed, he quickly moved out of the chamber to one of the Senate hearing rooms where he remained until the election of the Deputy Senate President was concluded.

However, for the PDP Senators, it was victory all through. Even some former and present PDP state governors were seen jubilating around the Senate Foyer.

Among the governors present at the event were Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom, Cross River State Governor, Ben Eyade and Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko. There was also the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha.

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12 Comments
  • PLACID KPOGHOL

    “Change is a whirlwind that blows in no particular direction” – Placid KPOGHOL.
    The latest casualty is APC as renegade Saraki snatches leadership of the National Assembly. Sweet as Lawan/Akume leadership would have been for my state (Benue – pardon my sentiment), Nigerians are again hopefully the winners here. The clear message is a total rejection of the old way of determining affairs, regardless of which party is at helm. This establishes that Nigerians voted for CHANGE, not APC. I hope our dear new leaders will note carefully and be properly guided.

    • Ibujanja

      Well said

  • Adebiyi Joseph

    Change is an ill wind that blows anyone no good , the APC calls for change , and change has come to stay good news

    • Tialobi

      APC should realise that change built on elements of the old is just a different form of the old. I hope that BuharI learns from Saraki that he should not allow anyone to control his decisions and teleguide his every move.

  • Babalakin

    Divide and rule has never done us good. It would have been honorable if all senators where on their seats then the vote could be taken. We hope this shaking will lead us some where. But for now its sees sad.

    • Alex

      Very good point.

    • New Nigerian

      God deceives those who deceives. Watch how this plays out…

    • Ebeechris

      With 57 supporters of Saraki versus 51 supporters of Lawan; Saraki would have still won. The rule is simple majority period. Lets face the fact, most people prefers Lawan including myself but not when he is being sponsored by Tinubu.

      What happened in house of rep is example of what would have happened in the upper chamber if the 51 senator were to be there.

  • New Nigerian

    As for the House of Rep – it could be said that democracy was in action, as all members were present.

    As for the senate, there was treachery involved. 50 members – all APC were absent, led to believe there was a meeting that involved Saraki and the President to discuss APC approach to how they would conduct themselves; Even as Saraki had concluded plans with PDP overnight for how things would go the PDP-way. people have called it politics, I call it treachery and deceptions. What in Nigerian speak is what we call “Jamba”.

    As for the House of Rep – it could be said that democracy was in action, as all members were present.

    As for the senate, there was treachery involved. 50 members – all APC were absent, led to believe there was a meeting that involved Saraki and the President to discuss APC approach to how they would conduct themselves; Even as Saraki had concluded plans with PDP overnight for how things would go the PDP-way. people have called it politics, I call it treachery and deceptions. What in Nigerian speak is what we call “Jamba”. Saraki Mesu Jamba. He sold out APC’s majority to PDP. By not waiting for the 50 members of APC to be present and his nocturnal planning with PDP to sell the mandate of his party, he committed the party equivalence of treason. He may well have emerged as Senate President with all APC members present, however it is obvious that his deputy would have been APC man and I hear Senate Mark is now majority leader – which actually ridicules the whole charade, how can he be the leader of the majority (APC has 59 members) and he is member of PDP with 49 members?

    “When it is said to them do not spread mischief in the land, nay they say we are only peace makers. When they meet members of the party of those who do good, they say we are with you and when they meet fellow evildoers they say, don’t mind the fools we are definitely with you.”. The case of Saraki Jnr. reminds me of a story of old – A pious man was riding his horse, as he passes the house of God he decided to go in to offer some voluntary prayers. So he alighted from his horse, tied it down and gave his fine leather horse whip (those were good possessions of yore) to a boy he saw there to hold for him based on agreement. He came out and the boy and the horse whip were gone – so he called on someone else and gave him two silver coins and said to him go to the market, you’d see one boy who is selling a horse whip, buy it for 2 silver coins and bring it back to me. When the good samaritan returned with the horse whip, he told him the story of what just happened and concluded, God has meant that he will have 2 silver coins today. I was going to tip him 2 silver coins, if he had been truthful that would have been praiseworthy and he would have earned good for himself. He still got his 2 silver coins and now incurred the sin of stealing and it’s damnations.

    There is enough lesson in this story for Senators Saraki, Ikweremadu, David Mark and all Senators, as well as President Buhari, APC, PDP and All Nigerians. What is your take on the lessons that can be deduced from this story, for all parties involved (in the disenfranchisement of majority of APC senators by a PDP-plot and it’s members to elect Saraki as Senate President and a PDP person as his deputy)?

    I’d tell you what I think APC should do based on the above story- Reverse the coup at the senate. This may be how, for being involved in the coup to give the majority mandate to PDP at the senate, which is the party-equivalent of treason, all APC-senators involved should be suspended, INEC petitioned for poll fraud (since they were not senators yet, bu senators-elect on the platform of APC) and other candidates fielded to represent their constituencies. If they like, let them go and contest as PDP and then we’d see who wins and returns to the senate as PDP.

    Over to you – what do you think the major actors and stakeholders mentioned above should do?

    • Ebeechris

      There is no fowl play or treachery because Saraki is an APC senator and some other APC senators were also present. 51 went for fictitious meeting outside national assemble complex or villa or defence house. perhaps they went for seminar or workshop or better still conference when a national issue is on the table. They have themselves to blame and of course, 57 against 51 could still not have given them victory.

      APC did mini election to produce Lawan and Femi and it did not seem right for them to try very had to lobby PDP members for support. They have majority but they would have had their way if they had won some PDP members to their side. I see it as arrogance and they are paying for it. They should do well to accept it and see how they can support Saraki and Dogara to work to achieve their party aspirations. If they should scuttle the present arrangement, they will loose the majority they have now.

  • Kehinde

    What played out in the NA is not surprising. After all, it is common knowledge that APC is an alliance of strange bed fellows. The nPDP alliance with APC was just to push GEJ out. Now that mission is accomplished nPDP cares less.

  • New Nigerian

    Now we know PDP rigged the election..and the Clerk has some explaining to do.
    There was selection and the clerk has some explaining to do…, 51 APC Senator-elect were absent, as well as, at least one PDP-Senator elect ( I imagine there are more than one …see the clip) were also absent. See the clip and think for yourself what just happened at the senate, copy the following url onto your browser and take a listen to Ben Bruce https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZrGDULpEZQ&feature=youtu.be

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