Impeachment Rumours: Akpabio ‘Silences’ Yari with New Senate Rules, Creates New Committees
The Senate on Tuesday amended its standing rules and effectively shut out new members from vying for the position of presiding officer in the Senate.
The amendment, which falls under Rule 3 sub section 2, (1,) (2) (3) and (4), states : “a senator vying for the office of President of the Senate or Deputy President of the Senate must have at least served in the Senate once.”
The Red Chamber also created nine new Standing Committees to bring the total number of committees to 73.
The new amendment specifically provides that any senator that seeks to contest for the office of the President of the Senate or Deputy President of the Senate must have spent at least one term as a senator.
It reads in part, “Nomination of Senators to serve as Presiding Officers and appointments of Principal Officers and other Officers of the Senate on any Parliamentary delegations shall be in accordance with the ranking of Senators.
“In determining ranking, the following order shall apply: Senators returning based on number of times re-elected;
“Senators who had been members of the House of Representatives.”
The amendment was a result of the consideration and adoption of a motion sponsored by the Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti), titled: “Amendment of the Standing orders of the Senate Pursuant to Order 109 at the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 as Amended.”
In his lead debate, Sen. Bamidele said: “The Senate: Recalls that the Senate Standing Rule was amended on Saturday 5th August 2023 to create new Committees and other sundry amendments.
“Aware that there are 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 a sound legislative practice;
“Aware that these developments have made it imperative to further amend the Standing Orders of the Senate 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;
“Further aware that the amendments have been circulated to Senators in accordance with Order 109 Rule 2 of the Senate Standing Orders.”
He noted that the new amendments were necessary in order to accommodate new possibilities and also enhance better legislative practices and procedures.
The new committees include, Atomic and Nuclear Energy, which would oversee the Nigeria Nuclear Energy Regulatory Commission, Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission and their annual budget estimates.
Others are committees on FCT and on FCT Area Councils.
The Committee on FCT will oversee matters affecting the FCT, Planning and Development of the new Federal Capital Territory and control of development within the Federal Capital Territory and its annual budgets.
The Committee on FCT Area Councils will oversee Area Council Mandate, Area Council Service Commission, Area Council Staff Pension Board, Auditor- General for the Area Council and other agency or department under FCT
The Committee on Sports was split into two standing committees to now reflect the Committee on Sports Development and Committee on Youth and Community Engagements.
The Committee on Sports Development shall include Federal Ministry of Sport Development, National Lottery Commission, National Institute for Sports, Nigeria Football Federation, Sport Arena Development, national and international sporting activities, sports administration and annual budget estimates.
The jurisdiction of the Committee on Youth and Community engagements will include Federal Ministry of Youth Development, National Youth Service Corps, Citizens and Leadership Training Centre, Offices of the Senior Assistants to the President on Community Engagement in the six geo-political zones, youths movements activities and associations and its annual budget estimates.
The Committee on Solid Minerals, Steel Development and Metallurgy was divided into the Committee on Solid Mineral Development and the Committee on Mines and Steel Development.
The Committee on Solid Mineral Development “shall oversee Federal Ministry of Solid Mineral Development, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, Mining Cadastre Office and Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscientist, Nigerian Metallurgical Training Institute, Solid Minerals Development Fund, Nigeria Institute of Mining and Geoscience, National Metallurgical Development Centre, exploration of minerals extraction and quarry, geological survey and minerals investigation as well as explosives.
“While Committee on Mines and Steel Development shall oversee Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Aluminum Smelting Company of Nigeria, Ajaokuta Steel Development Company, National Iron Ore Mining Company, National Steel Raw Material Exploration Agency and their budgets.
Others are: the Committee on Tourism and Committee on Culture and Creative Economy.
After the adoption of the motion, the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio directed the Senate Committee on Rules and Business to immediately reprint the senate standing orders to reflect the new amendments.
Many observers have said that the amendment of the Senate rules was the response of the Akpabio led Senate leadership to forestall the perceived come-back push by the camp of Senator Abubakar Yari (APC, Zamfara) who keenly contested the senate presidency with Akpabio.