After all the political rumblings that took place the past few weeks, the Nigerian Senate, who after postponing their resumption for the party primaries, resumed Wednesday’s sitting with arguments over sitting arrangements.
The confusion started after the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, refused to allow former minority leader, Godswill Akpabio, contribute to a point of order.
Bassey Akpan (Akwa Ibom North East) had raised a point of order accusing the All Progressives Congress (APC) in his state of plotting to disrupt the forthcoming general election. Saraki noted Akpan’s statement but also ignored Akpabio who raised his hand.
“Senator… eh… former Minority Leader, you know you can’t speak from there. You can’t. Go to your seat, when you get to your seat, I’ll recognise you,” he said.
He then asked the Senate leader, Ahmed Lawan to proceed with other items on the Order Paper, who only stood up to defend Akpabio.
“If he decides to sit there, let him. There is no microphone there. Let us not take the panadol for his headache. Let me advise, that even though we have only six, seven months to go, let’s do what is right,” he said adding that the Clerk of the Senate allocated the sit to Akpabio.
Saraki refuted this stating that he directed the Clerk to allocate seats to lawmakers. This is when the chaos started.
While the noise continued, Saraki asked Akpabio to find a seat with a microphone to make his point of order. The lawmakers only ignored this and instead began to throw words at others from opposition parties.
This continued until Emmanuel Paulker (Bayelsa Central) got up to speak. “Mr President, Senator Akpan came under Order 43 which is Self-Explanation. You cannot contribute. Akpabio you cannot!” he said.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, came in later saying “there was no need for bickering.”
But the Senate Leader shouted, “there should be equity. You cannot discriminate against us.”
Akpabio said, after the noise, “I was seeking your attention to re-appraise you of Order 11. The seat was allocated to me by the Clerk and I expect that you were notified. The embarrassment I got today was uncalled for. I demand an apology, not just written but verbal too.”
Akpabio was, however, cut short by more noise. This time, APC lawmakers were demanding an apology from the Senate President.
“He should apologise. Even the PDP apologised to Nigerians. What’s the big deal?” Ali Ndume (Borno South) said.
“In view of the situation of the Senate today, I want to apologise to my colleagues and I raised my voice earlier and to say that until the Senate is well constituted and the seats are well arranged, I want to hold my peace,” Akpabio said.
Imagine the concerns our Senators are more interested in.