Published On: Fri, Jun 16th, 2017

Senate in rowdy session over superiority contest with Reps

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Senate President, Bukola Saraki

Senate President, Bukola Saraki

By Christiana Ekpa and Ikechukwu Okaforadi

The Senate was yesterday thrown into a rowdy session over arguments as to which Chamber of the National Assembly wields more power and superiority.
Trouble started when Senator Bala Ibn N’Allah (Deputy Leader) came under point of order to draw the attention of the Senate to statements allegedly made by Acting President Yemi Osinbanjo on the 2017 Budget to the effect that the National Assembly has no power to tamper with budget proposals from the executive.
Senator Na’Allah who explained that the Acting president who himself is a renowned legal practitioner might have been quoted out of context however, added that the Senate and the House of Representatives have equal legislative powers.
“Five Senators bombarded my office angrily about a statement allegedly credited to the acting president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo that the National Assembly does not possess the power to alter the budget submitted to it by the executive”
“I offered explanation, what is important sir is the fact that we have operated this constitution from 1999 till day. I am sure that everybody who knows me, know that I have some limited understanding of the provision of the constitution”
“I have had the privilege to work with the acting President while practicing law in Lagos. I know so much that I would rather believe that what was alleged to have been said could not have been said by him even if it were, he must have been misquoted”
“For the avoidance of doubt, it is the same constitution that we have operated since 1999 till date, and has section 80 and the title of section 80 is power and control, listen to the two words power and control over public funds”
Section 2 says “no monies shall be withdrawn from the consolidated revenue funds of the federation except to make expenditure that is charged by the funds of the constitution or where the issues of those monies have been authorized by an appropriation act”
“I am not making a case for him and I do not want to believe that one is here. What has been alleged to be said does not represent the spirit of the constitution. This explanation I feel is necessary and put the matter to rest”
But his explanations does not go down well with other Lawmakers as Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio who also came under point of order corrected the impression made by the deputy leader saying that the Senate is superior to the House of representatives going by constitutional provisions.
Further intervention by the Leader of the House Ahmed Lawal to affirm the initial position that both chambers are equal further threw the Senate into a rowdy session until Senate President Bukola Saraki intervened with his ruling on it.
According to Saraki, “this matter is important because some of my colleagues came to me as regards the matter of the budget of 2017 and I cannot agree with you less that the acting president must have been misquoted because there is clearly no ambiguity in the constitution with regards to the responsibilities. This matter has been cleared and settled and I don’t think there is any issue here that is vague”
“I want to reassure our members on these areas. It is very important that as responsible statesmen and leaders, we consult and do our best to make things work for the executive and assist”
“I want to assure that this Senate will continue to defend the constitution to ensure that anything we do is in line with that. It is important we clear that and reassure a lot of our colleagues on this area”
The Senate thereafter adjourned plenary for two weeks, to resume after the Sallah Break.

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  1. Ola says:

    Make u na wirk for us, not for u na sef

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