Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe) and Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio (PDP, Akwa-Ibom), were locked in a battle of words on Thursday over which chamber of the National Assembly was superior.
Drama started when the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC, Kebbi), while explaining the powers of the legislature in budget appropriation, said the Senate and the House were of equal status.
Akpabio interjected by raising a point of order.
He insisted that the Senate was superior to the House in terms of status.
The former governor of Akwa Ibom said it was in recognition of the superiority of the Senate that the constitution gave additional responsibilities to it.
“The constitution assigns additional responsibility to the Senate and excluded the House; that’s confirmation of nominees.
“This is why many people contest for Senate from the House. I hope one day the deputy leader will contest for House and go back there,” he posited.
Within seconds, Senator Lawan raised a point of order and backed Na’Allah’s position.
He noted that Akpabio’s submission cannot stand as both legislative chambers complement each other.
“I’m in support of the deputy leader’s position. I was at the House for eight years; I’m convinced that no chamber can make any legislation without the concurrence of the other.
“If you cannot send a bill to the executive for assent without the House, you will know that none of the chambers is superior to the other.
“The Senate only has an additional responsibility. I moved from the House to the Senate to participate in the additional responsibility of the Senate and not legislation,” he explained.
As tension grew, Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, intervened.
“The matter has become a controversial one; we should just leave it,” he ruled.
Senate, after the drama, adjourned plenary for 3 weeks, to commemorate the 2nd anniversary of the 8th Assembly and Eid-El-Fitri festival.
Incidentally, the two ‘gladiators’ were involved in the decision to adjourn.
Lawan moved for the adjournment which was seconded by the Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio.
Plenary will resume Tuesday, 4th July, 2017 for legislative activities.