Jul 28, 2015

Saraki, Ekweremadu get senate ‘confidence vote’

The senate on Tuesday passed a vote of confidence on its leadership, amid ongoing crisis over allegations that rules were forged to elect the senate president and his deputy. In a motion‎ signed by 81 senators and moved by Nnaemeka Anyanwu (Imo East), the senate reaffirmed its endorsement of Bukola Saraki as senate president and Ike Ekweremadu as deputy senate president as well as the principal officers. The principal officers are Ali Ndume (majority leader), Bala Na’Allah (deputy leader), Olusola Adeyeye (chief whip) and Francis Alimikhena (deputy chief whip). Saraki put the motion, which sought to “cement” the legitimacy of the leadership in the face of opposition, to a voice vote to which the lawmakers chorused “Aye” in agreement. There was no single dissenting voice. As many as 73 senators are needed to remove either Saraki or Ekweremadu, although only 55 are required to vote them into office. Earlier in his motion, Anyanwu noted with dismay “the continued ‎harassment of the senate and senators, the national assembly management and spouses of senators by security agencies”. “Considering the sustained interference in the internal affairs of the senate by detractors and media propaganda against the senate and senators by selfish politicians, I therefore move to call on the senate to pass a vote‎ of confidence on the senate president, deputy senate president and the entire senate leadership as presently constituted,” he said. He also urged the senate to “call on the Nigeria police force and all other security agencies in Nigeria not to allow themselves to be used by any person or persons to harass, intimidate or blackmail the senate, senators or their spouses.” His motion, which received an overwhelming yes vote‎, was seconded by Dino Melaye (Kogi West). Anyanwu’s motion followed allegations of forgery of the senate standing rules by the leadership as well as the‎ investigation of the wife of the senate president, Toyin Saraki, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Among the 81 senators who appended their names to the motion were David Mark, former senate president; Shehu Sani (Kaduna), Stella Oduah (Anambra), Buruji Kashamu (Ogun), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) and Ben Murray-Bruce (Bayelsa).