A Group of Senators-elect have vowed to resist any attempt by external forces to impose Presiding offices during the June 13, 2023 election of the 10th National Assembly’s leadership.
Speaking on behalf of the members of the group, the Senator-elect, Suleiman A. Kawu Sumaila warmed that implosion of Presiding Officers is a violation of the provisions of Constitution and Standing Orders of the two chambers.
“In my view, external interference in the election of the next Presiding Officers of the National Assembly would not only violate the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and Standing Orders of both the Senate and House of Representatives, but would also cause a serious misunderstandings between the Legislative and Executive Arms of government.
“Available information reveals that some desperate politicians are planning to use undemocratic means to impose Lawmakers-elect of their choice to become Presiding Officers against the wishes of the majority. This move is undemocratic, unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy as well as the nation as a whole,” he empathized.
Sumaila explained that, the election of Presiding Officers is purely an internal affair that concerns only members of the National Assembly and therefore, should be allowed to decide who among them would occupy the positions in order to avoid repetition of the incidences of the 7th and 8th National Assembly.
He added that both Nigerian Constitution and Standing Orders of the Senate are explicit about how the President and Deputy President of the Senate shall be elected.
“For instance, Chapter 2 of the 9th Standing Orders of the Senate 2022 (as amended) stipulates the procedures for selection of Presiding Officers of the Senate. Similarly, Section 50(1)a of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) states that, “there shall be a President and Deputy President of the Senate, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.
And, Section 50(1)b stipulates that, “A Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.
“At this juncture, I want commend Mr. President and Commander-In-Chief of Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, GCFR, for appointing Senator George Akume as Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Honorable Femi Gbajabiamila as Chief of Staff and Senator Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia as the Deputy Chief of Staff. This is because these gentlemen are very conversant of the modus operandi of the National Assembly. As such, their appointments would no doubt strengthen the working relationships of the two arms of government.
“This is for the first time in the history of our democracy when we have a President, Vice president, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief of Staff to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff all with Parliamentary experiences. Thus, it is highly expected of them by Nigerians to respect both the Constitutional and Standing Orders provisions.
“Consequently, I want use this opportunity to draw the attention of Mr. President to this unfortunate and undemocratic move by some elements to temper with the laid down procedures.
“Similarly, I want to also call on other Stakeholders, Civil Society Organisations and International Communities to stand firm in ensuring democratic consolidation in Nigeria.
“We, the lawmakers that are supporting the candidature of Senator Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari are ever ready to work in harmony with Mr. President for a better Nigeria.
“I am confident that Mr. President as a true democrat who believes in the rule of law will do everything possible to safeguard the sanctity of the National Assembly. We, the Lawmakers that are supporting the candidature of Senator Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari are ready to work with Mr. President in harmony for a better Nigeria,” he concluded.