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Ohuabunwa urges caution on Senate Rule Book

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja
08 July 2015   |   2:59 am
SENATOR Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP, Abia North) has called on his colleagues in the upper legislative chamber to be cautious in addressing the issue of alleged forgery of Senate Rule book 2015 for which the deputy president of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has been invited by the police.
Ohuabunwa

Ohuabunwa

SENATOR Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP, Abia North) has called on his colleagues in the upper legislative chamber to be cautious in addressing the issue of alleged forgery of Senate Rule book 2015 for which the deputy president of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has been invited by the police.

Briefing journalists in Abuja, Ohuabunwa also urged the Police to exercise restraints in the manner it wades into matters concerning the internal workings of the Senate.

Ohuabunwa, who was a former House of Representatives’ Deputy Majority Leader, described as unfortunate the invitation extended to Ekweremadu on the matter.

He said, “I think the Police should be careful in handling this matter because I know that the law is clear that for all activities that take place at the National Assembly or on the floor of the Senate or in the chamber cannot be used as evidence against any Senator. That is why when you speak, when you see people fight on the floor the police is not involved because it is a place emotion will play a role.

“If any thing happened, the police have a division at the National Assembly, there is the bureaucracy, the National Assembly management headed by the Clerk to the National Assembly.”

He explained that since the 2015 rule was handed over to Senators during the inauguration of Senate, “it was wrong to accuse any Senator of having played a role in producing that Rule book.”

According to Ohuabunwa, “The whole issue is unfortunate. Some of us do not really understand what is happening. But some of these things might be politics. Don’t also forget that since the emergence of the Deputy Senate President, the ruling party has been very uncomfortable. It is quite unfortunate because there is nothing untoward in the eyes of those behind the petition that the Senate and Senators cannot resolve.

“If you are talking of the rule, it is the rule of the Senate as at today because we have been inaugurated. So if there are amendments, you raise the amendment on the floor and it will be debated. There is nothing sacrosanct that says that 2011 rule must be used for 2015.‎”

The lawmaker explained that immediately after the 7th Senate was dissolved, it was only the National Assembly bureaucracy that was in charge since no Senator elect had been sworn in.

“It should also be noted that at the end of the 7th National Assembly, the bureaucracy took over. It is the bureaucracy that swears in the presiding officers. Until you are sworn in you have no powers. Whatever that may have happened should be a responsibility of the bureaucracy.

“Ekweremadu should be able to answer questions on what happens after his inauguration, he should not answer question on issues that took place when he was not even a Senator at the expiration of the 7th Assembly.

“All I am saying is that if there are issues, the Senators should resolve it. I also know that the rule after the bureaucracy has handed over to us becomes our document and we now have power to amend it if need be and where necessary. Before then, the rule is like a document of the bureaucracy. When you are sworn in and you look at the rule book if there are areas you disagree with, it is within your power to call for amendment.”

While cautioning his colleagues over the matter, Ohuabunwa said, “somebody is faulting the emergence of Ekweremadu based on the rule book, it means that every other Senator that was inaugurated using the same rule should be involved.

“If you are faulting the rule, it was based on the same rule that all of us were inaugurated. It was the same rule that brought in the Senate President. So if you are faulting it, it means that all of us have not even been inaugurated. And if you have not been inaugurated, you are not even supposed to speak as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The fact remains that if you are against any section of the rule, you raise it for debate‎”