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Thursday, 15 June 2017

Drama as senators disagree over equality of Senate, House of Reps

Drama as senators disagree over equality of Senate, House of Reps

THERE was a mild drama, Thursday, as senators disagreed on the equality status of the Senate and House of Representatives.

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Yusuf Dogara, House of Reps speaker and Bukola Saraki, Senate President
While some senators argued that the Senate was higher in order of seniority, others contended that both the Senate and House of Representatives were equal in status.

Those who rated the Senate higher in status particularly argued that the 1999 Constitution as amended, gave more powers to the Senate than the House of Representatives, contending further  that senators represent larger constituents than members of the House of Representatives.

The argument was stoked at plenary, yesterday, as Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC, Kebbi South), said the Senate and House of Representatives had similar powers of legislation, stressing: “There is nothing like the upper and lower chambers in the constitution.”

Senator Na’Allah spoke through a point of order 42 of the Senate Standing Rule to condemn a statement credited to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, that the National Assembly lacked powers to insert projects in the budget prepared by the executive.

Reacting to the equality status argument by his colleague, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio (PDP, Akwa Ibom North-West), said the Senate was superior to the House of Representatives as recognized by the 1999 Constitution.

But Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, APC, Yobe North, agreed with Ibn Na’ Allah on the equality status of both chambers, stressing that they were equal and symbolized democracy in the country.

In his reaction, Senate President Bukola Saraki, who ruled Lawan out of order, said it was a controversial matter, stressing that the point of order under which the Majority Leader was speaking, was not for such matters.

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