Over half of Senators of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday boycotted plenary when the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, presided over the chamber.
APC Senators boycott Deputy Senate President's plenary
Over half of the APC Senators boycotted plenary as Ike Ekweremadu presided over the chamber.
Not only was it the first time Ekweremadu (PDP, Enugu West) presided the plenary since the inauguration of the Senate on June 9th, it was also the first time a minority party would be presiding over the Senate since 1999.
The APC currently has the majority with 60 senators while PDP has 49.
Ekweremadu, who defeated Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South) with 54 to 20 votes held sway till the arrival of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
According to Daily Trust, Saraki was at the Presidential Villa for the inauguration of ministers appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ekweremadu started presiding the Red Chamber around 11.10 am and quit around 12. 50 p.m. when Saraki returned from the Villa.
According to Daily Trust, while Ekweremadu was presiding, the Chamber was half empty as only 27 APC senators were on ground. From where he was, our correspondent counted 40 PDP senators.
Under Ekweremadu’s watch, the Senate referred the request of President Muhammadu Buhari for the confirmation of William Babatunde Fowler as executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the managing director of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Ahmed Lawan Kuru and three other executive directors of the corporation to the Senate committee on finance.
In a telephone interview, secretary of the Unity Forum, Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi (APC, Kaduna North) explained the rationale for their action.
He said:“We boycotted the sitting because the minority cannot preside over the majority. But I’m talking for myself, there are many others who did same but may not want to be quoted.In its reaction to the development, the leadership of the Senate said the bi-partisan stand of the Senators has not and will be an impediment.Addressing newsmen, the spokesperson of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi(APC, Niger North) faulted the claim of the Unity Forum that there was conspiracy against the APC.Finally, as we await the unveiling of the policy directions of Mr. President through the members of his Executive council, the Senate is indeed poised to work harder and better to support the emergence of a changed Nigeria of our collective dream.“
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