Saraki overrules protests over Senate leadership
Speaking to The Guardian on the matter, Chief Emeka Ngige(SAN) said: “I have not been able to get a copy of their rules. I need to get it before taking informed position because they were quoting their standing rule.
The other argument is that that rule applies only when you have been sworn-in as a member, when the house is operating normally, that is when everybody must have been sworn-in as a senator.
But when if comes to inauguration, all of them, if not all, a substantial number of them, more than 50 percent must be present. So, I need to read it.
The All Progressives Congress(APC) should just settle down and allow Saraki and at the appropriate time, they can strike.
Saraki, with the way he emerged, will now be sleeping with one eye.
The proverbial banana peel is already on the side of his presiding chair. It is like, he will now be watchful before he finishes his tenure.
If I were Saraki, since I know that I have the number of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and some members of APC that would make him win that election, I would have asked that we wait for our colleagues to come.
That is the mark of statemanship.
Another person I lay the blame on is the Clerk of the National Assembly. He allowed himself to be used for political purposes and the Clerk is supposed to be a civil servant who is not a card- carrying member of any party.
Even if the rules were not violated, decency and morality demand that they should have postponed that election by at least one hour.
This is because, earlier that day, we were watching television and were told that the road and the gate to the National Assembly had been blocked by the police and that reporters and even workers were not allowed in.
Thereafter, about 30 minutes later, they said that the inauguration had been postponed. These incidents ought to have made him to postpone the election to by at least one more hour to allow everybody to be present. But what he did by proceeding with the election, seeing that all his colleagues were not there is like he was acting out a script.
It is immoral, even if the rules permit him to do that. When we appear before a court, there are occasions that the judge arrives by 9am. When he calls a matter and the party on the side is not there, he will stand the matter down for 30 minutes in case the other party is held up. The exercise could be right or legal, but the moral aspect is that the Clerk of the House ought to have delayed the inuaguration for one hour.
Look at what happened in the House of Representative. Nobody is complaining there. Everybody took part in the voting and the winner emerged. For me, Saraki would have still won even if all the APC members were there.”
Also speaking, Albert Akpomudje (SAN) said: “It is good for democracy. I think the APC played into the hand of the PDP. They should have put their house in order. But again, if you look at the process, the president had issued a proclamation for the national assembly to be inaugurated. Everybody supposed to be there. Nobody is going to wait for you because you are from the presidents party.
You may also look at the number of votes. Those of them who were out were in the minority. Even if they had participated, they would not have got the majority to help the APC.
So, whether it was done in their present or absent, what matters at the end of the day is that the senate president emerged from the majority votes. In the argument about quorum, they are 109 members and quorum is aobut one third of the total number. It is not the two third majority.
Quorum usually is not more than one third of all members. I think they formed the quorum. Those who voted are more than half. It is not an issue that should be argued. If all members were present, Saraki probably would have won too. So that is the nature of politics – no permanent friend, no permanent enemy.”
On his part, Yusuf Ali (SAN): “In the rules of the national assembly there is a quorum. If the quorum was not formed, the clerk would not have called for election. So, the question about the legality of the election should be directed to the clerk of the national assembly. He knows what obtains. I think the APC should reappraise its tactics. They need to capert their frustration. They need a specific reaction or they go the way of PDP. PDP made the same mistake on Tambuwal. I think the APC needs to strategise and extend the olive branch to their members.”