Senate President, Bukola Saraki, yesterday named Senator Ali Ndume as the
new Senate leader and Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah as his deputy.
The Senate president also named Senator Francis Alimikhena as the deputy
chief whip. He was silent on the candidate of the South-West geo-political
zone, who was expected to fill the Senate chief whip post.
Saraki’s decision was based on letters sent to him by the North-East,
North-West and the South-South caucuses of All Progressives Congress (APC).
Curiously, he was silent on the position of chief whip that Senator Olusola
Adeyeye was pencilled down to fill.
It was later gathered that the APC South-West caucus had yet to write to
the Senate president.
Daily Sun gathered that on Wednesday evening, the APC North-East and the
North-West caucuses converged on Saraki’s private residence and impressed
it on him that having submitted names of their members to fill the vacant
positions, he must announce the names at yesterday’s plenary.
A senator present at the meeting, which lasted late into the night,
disclosed that the Senate president appealed to his colleagues to concede
the Senate leader position to Senator Ahmad Lawan, in line with party
directives but they told him that, “it’s too late for that. We have
selected our candidates and our decision is final.
“The Senate president only succeeded in persuading them not to
disenfranchise the South-South geo-political zone, which led to the
emergence of Senator Francis Alimikhena as the deputy chief whip,” the
Meanwhile, immediately the Senate president commenced reading of the
correspondences from the caucuses, Senator Kabir Marafa quickly shouted
‘Point of order.’
He raised two orders: Order 28 (1) and Constitutional point of Order 65,
(1E) and reminded the Senate president that a letter from the APC,
detailing the senators to fill the leadership positions, was still with him.
Order 28 (1) states: “There should be a majority leader of the Senate, who
should be a senator nominated from the party with the highest number of
senators. This point of order was raised yesterday and another colleague
raised another point of order distinguishing between the word, from and by.
“That is why I am joining it with Order 65 (1d) of the constitution. It
says subject to the provisions of Section 66 of the constitution, a person
shall be qualified for election as a member of the Senate if he or she is a
member of a political party and sponsored by the political party.
“There is a communication from the APC which is the party with the majority
representatives in the Senate. However, for reasons best known to you, Mr.
President, you declined to read it yesterday on the floor of the Senate,
when your attention was drawn to the communication from the party.
“The constitutional provision just cited clearly puts the party ahead of
any other caucus from anywhere. Therefore, if the communication from the
party, can so be regarded, I suggest that you, Mr. President cannot read
any communication from any caucus because there is no caucus that is bigger
than the political party.”
Thereafter, Saraki recognised Senator Danjuma Goje to speak on the matter.
Goje reminded the chamber that since 1999, caucuses in the Senate had
always chosen their leaders and so, the issue could not be different in
In his ruling, the Senate president also reminded Marafa that the chamber
had concluded on the matter.
“Let me refer to Order 53 (6) of our rules which states that it will be out
of order to attempt to reconsider any specific question upon which the
Senate has come to a conclusion. This matter had already been raised and
ruled upon. Also order 25 (3, 8), which talks about interpretation of
rules; on these two issues, I will have to rule Senator Marafa out of
order,” he said.
Senate leader later announced adjournment of plenary till July 21.
Friday, 26 June 2015