There was mild drama yesterday in the Senate as the absence of President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan and his deputy, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege over delayed plenary session, thereby heightening tension among the Senators.
Trouble started yesterday when Senators were already at the door of the floor, the new chamber in anticipation of commencement of plenary, but after some hours, the two presiding officers were not available and there was no communication to the Senators.
Having waited for a period of time, the Senators had to leave. The lawmakers started leaving the chamber at 12.10pm, plenary that ordinarily would have started at 10am as they were later begged to come back.
Although Senators of the ninth assembly have recently begun to start plenary sessions late, but yesterday’s incident was different.
A source said that the President of the Senate was out of Abuja apparently for the Presidential campaigns and the Deputy was in Delta for his gubernatorial aspiration.
It was also gathered that to save the situation, the Deputy President of the Senate had to rush back from Delta State to preside over plenary.
There was no communication with regard to suspension or delay in the commencement of the plenary, but it was gathered that there were feelers that plenary session was not going to hold yesterday.
Plenary was however stalled because the two presiding Officers were absent and in line with Order 21, 22 of the Senate Standing Orders 2022 As amended, nobody can preside except there is an appointment of a President Pro- Tempore ” and this did not happen.
The situation was the first of its kind since the 9th Senate. Omo-Agege later arrived at the chamber and plenary commenced at 12.40pm.
Soon after the commencement of plenary, Senator George Sekibo, PDP, Rivers East raised a point of order relying on Orders 10, 11, 20( a), 21 and 22 of the Senate Standing Orders 2022 as Amended.
The rules provide that where the Senate President and his deputy are absent from plenary, another Senator can be appointed to chair the plenary in their place.
Sekibo who noted that he was not raising the issue “in bad faith”, however wondered why no communication was made to Senators who had arrived at the chamber and waited hours for plenary.
He said, “Thank God we were able to arrive here to sit at 12 p.m., but senators are not supposed to come and wait. “Next time, if you know you are in a tight corner, kindly inform someone and make necessary arrangements rather than keep them waiting.”
He warned that if the incident was ignored, it was capable of setting a precedent, which will not portray the Senate well.
Sekibo was however ruled out of Order Senator Omo-Agege who said he does not agree with Sekibo’s opinion because the Order says the Senate President’s opinion as he did not offer an apology or an explanation. (Vanguard)