…As Adopted Candidates of Ruling APC Emerge Victorious …Don’t Muzzle Legislature, PDP Warns A more chummy relationship between the Legislature and the Executive, may be in the offing as adopted candidates of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan and Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, emerged leaders of the 9th National Assembly when they
…As Adopted Candidates of Ruling APC Emerge Victorious
…Don’t Muzzle Legislature, PDP Warns
A more chummy relationship between the Legislature and the Executive, may be in the offing as adopted candidates of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan and Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, emerged leaders of the 9th National Assembly when they won the hotly contested race for Senate Presidency and Speakership, House of Representatives respectively.
At their inaugural sitting yesterday in Abuja, Lawan and Gbajabiamila clinched victory, upsetting the stake of some bookmakers who had expected the re-enactment of the 2015 contest that led to unexpected results, ushering candidates that were not anointed by the APC leaders in both chambers.
Lawan who represents Yobe North Senatorial District, early on Tuesday afternoon, became President of the 9th Senate when he defeated his rival, SenatorMohammed Ali Ndume also of the APC with 79 to 28 votes
A total of 107 Senators-elect took part in the exercise presided over by the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Mohammed Sani-Omolori with Imo North and Imo West Senatorial District seats left vacant. .
Lawan was the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Candidate for the position while Ndume, also of APC, got the late backing of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Another aspirant, Senator Danjuma Goje, a former Governor of Gombe state had earlier dropped out from the race after a deal with the APC leadership which saw a directive from the Presidency to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to hands off the N25 billion charge against him.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege also of the APC emerged Deputy Senate President, defeating his immediate predecessor, Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the PDP who’s in the Senate for an unprecedented 6th term. Omo-Agege and Ekweremadu represent Delta Central and Enugu West Senatorial Districts respectively.
A total of 105 Senators however voted for the Deputy Senate Presidency seat, with the Imo North and Imo West Senatorial Districts seat left vacant while two Senators did not vote.
The APC had a total of 62 Senators, PDP 44 Senators while the Young People’s Party (YPP) had 1 Senator on the floor of the Senate after the roll call.
At the House of Representatives, the lawmaker representing Surulere 1 Federal Constituency, Lagos, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila of the APC was elected the Speaker.
The former Majority Leader of the House of Representatives who polled 283 of the votes cast on Tuesday evening, defeated his rival who’s also a member of the ruling APC, Umar Bago, representing Chanchagi Federal Constituency of Niger State.
A total of 358 members-elect participated in the electoral exercise.
Earlier, the Director-General of the Gbajabiamila Speakership Campaign Council, Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin, had nominated Mr Gbajabiamila for the Speakership seat with free flowing laconic words while the motion was seconded by Mrs Linda Ikpeazu.
Also the representative of Wase Federal Constituency of Plateau State, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, was returned unopposed as the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Wase, also the choice of the APC and President Muhamadu Buhari, was nominated by Sada Jibia (APC-Katsina) and seconded by Hon. Akpan Luke (PDP-Akwa Ibom).
The 9th National Assembly is now set for a more harmonious relationship with the Executive unlike in 2015 when Dr Bukola Saraki and Hon Yakubu Gogara were elected Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives against the wish of leaders of the APC who were greatly piqued particularly with the horse trading in the Senate which produced PDP’s Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President.
Their election is largely blamed for the edgy relationship between the 8th National Assembly and the Executive which were perceived to have worked at cross purposes.
Yesterday’s proceedings in the Senate was watched by many well-wishers including Governors and the APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole.
Meanwhile, National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Uche Secondus, has warned President Buhari and his ruling APC, against muzzling the Legislature and the other arms of the government.
Speaking against the backdrop of what he called “the obvious direct involvement of the President and his party in today’s election of principal officers of the 9th Assembly”, Secondus said that the doctrine of the separation of power must be respected and guided to avoid dictatorship.
He said in a statement from his media office signed by Mr Ike Abonyi, that his warning has become absolutely necessary given the dictatorial tendencies of the APC administration as seen in the last four years, and their continuous propensity to disregard the rule of law and other principles of democracy.
According to the PDP chairman, available intelligence to the party shows that the Presidency and the APC have concluded plans to use intimidation and coercion against legislators not ready to do their bidding in their desperation to hoist leadership on the legislators.
Mr Secondus revealed that the Presidency and the APC have been arm-twisting the officials of the National Assembly to fashion out favourable rules that would enable them have their way.
He said that the apparent disregard to the basic principles of separation of power by this administration points clearly to their eventual destination, which is dictatorship.
The PDP National Chairman said that the Executive is trying to take over the 9th Assembly so as to realise their long held aspiration of hijacking the Legislature which began in August last year during the state sponsored stealing of the Senate mace and the aborted illegal seizure of the 8th Assembly.
“Indications are clearly showing that full blown dictatorship is brewing in our country. When a supposed democratic government brazenly muscles all the other arms of government, the Legislature, the Judiciary and even the press, the fourth estate of the realm, we should be worried at what is loading in our polity.”
Mr Secondus said that any government not disposed to respecting the separation of power and rule of law as enshrined in our constitution in a democratic setting, is looking for absolute authority which is nothing but totalitarianism.
He admonished the legislators of the 9th Assembly to guide their independence jealously and refuse to be intimidated knowing that as elected representatives of the people, that they the Parliament are opium of democracy.