By Enyichukwu Enemanna
The Tuesday amended rule of the Nigerian Senate shuts out first-time elected members from contesting for office of the Senate President and the Deputy.
Titled, “Amendment of the Standing Orders of the Senate pursuant to Order 109 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022″, the amendment of 3 Section 2 and Sub-section 1, 2 and 3 was in response to a motion moved by the Senate leader, Opeyemi Bamidele.
The Senate rule book states that nomination for presiding officers shall be in accordance with the ranking of Senators.
It states, “In determining the ranking, the following Order shall apply: (i) senators returning based on the number of times re-elected; (ii) senators who had been members of the House of Representatives and (iii) Senators elected as senators for the first time.”
However, Bamidele in his motion stated that the Senate Standing Rule was amended on Saturday, August 5, 2023, to create new Committees and other sundry Amendments.
“There are a number of issues that require further Amendments to provide for the creation of additional Committees of the Senate in response to emerging developments that will enhance rules of procedure for sound legislative practice.
“These developments have made it imperative to further amend the Standing Orders of the Senal 2022 (as amended) occasioned by the creation of additional Senate Standing Committees and to have the functions and jurisdictions reflected in the Standing Orders of the Senate.
“The amendments have been circulated to Senators in accordance with Order 109 Rule 2 the Senate Standing Orders.”
“Senator Bamidele further urged the Senate to “restrain first-time lawmakers from contesting for any of the presiding officers; Senate President and Deputy Senate President.”
The lawmakers then unanimously agreed to amend their rule to accommodate the prayers as moved by the Senate leader.
In the contest leading to the emergence of Sen. Godswill Akpabio as the Senate President, former Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, a first-time senator joined in the contest though lost to the former Minister of Niger Delta.