Senator Bukola Saraki, ex-governor Kwara State governor and senator representing Kwara Central, has been elected unopposed as the President of the 8th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Saraki, a former Kwara State governor and son of late political godfather, Olusola Saraki, was elected unopposed by 57 out of 108 Senators, with 51 Senators missing, Lawan among them.
Senator Ahmed Lawan(Borno), who emerged the consensus candidate of the All Progressives Congress, was not nominated.
The other senators were at the International Conference Centre at the time Saraki was declared President.
Watch video how Bukola Saraki was declared the Senate President for the 8th National Assembly:
The election took place without the legal proclamation of the Senate by President Buhari, so it may be discussed in court.
President Muhammadu Buhari was reportedly holding a meeting with National Assembly members, elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, to resolve the crisis that has overwhelmed the party over the legislators’ battle for top seats in the federal legislature an hour before the inauguration of the 8th legislature, in the National Assembly complex, Abuja.
A mock election, provided by the leadership of the APC on June 6, Saturday, produced Senator Ahmed Lawan (Borno) for the Senate Presidency while Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos) emerged as the party’s candidate for the election of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
In a similar development, immediate past Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, a member of the minority Peoples Democratic Party, has been elected Deputy Senate President after beating Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume of the All Progressives Congress in an election held at the National Assembly yesterday. He was nominated by Abie Sekibo from Rivers State.
Ekweremadu was sworn as Deputy President of the Senate, after he polled 54 votes to defeat Sen. Ali Ndume (APC- Borno-South), who polled 20 votes, while one vote was declared invalid.
NAN reports that the day’s activity started at 10:00 a.m. with the reading of President Muhammadu Buhari’s proclamation by the Clerk of National Assembly (CNA), Alhaji Abubakar Maikasuwa.
Thereafter, former President of the Senate, David Mark, and other senators-elect took their oath of office.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, and the governor of Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose, have congratulated the newly elected Senate President Bukola Saraki, his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, as well as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a statement on Tuesday described the development in both chambers of the National Assembly as “victory for democracy and triumph of the time-honoured value of the PDP that every zone and segment of the country must at all times be given a sense of belonging in governance”.
The PDP assured that it would continue to partner with like minds in other political parties and groups to ensure that the nation’s democracy, which it nurtured in the last 16 years is sustained in the overall interest of the Nigerian people. The party said:
What is paramount to the PDP is the sustenance of our democracy and the wellbeing of our people, irrespective of creed, class or ethnicity. The PDP is therefore willing and ready to partner with like-minded individuals in other political parties and groups to sustain our democracy, ensure good governance and promote the unity and stability of our dear nation. Nigeria as a nation belongs to all of us. Its interest therefore must be put over and above personal, partisan or group interests at all times.
In this regard, the PDP notes with gratitude, the immense contributions of the immediate past Senate President ‘the Baba of the National Assembly’, Senator David Mark for the decency and mature manner with which he ensured the smooth take off of the 8th National Assembly,”
The PDP also urged the All Progressives Congress, APC, to “stop whining” and accept the will of the people, respect the independence of the legislature, saying the PDP is not responsible for their (APC’s) naivety and crass inexperience.
On his part, Mr. Tambuwal in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Imam Imam, commended members of the two Chambers of the National Assembly for exhibiting “high sense of maturity and defence of legislative ethos in the choice of their leaders”.
He said the outcome of the National Assembly elections indicates that democracy has come of age in Nigeria and that the doctrine of the independence of the legislature is gradually taking firm root.
Mr. Tambuwal, who is the immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, admonished those who were unsuccessful in the contests to regard their actions as positive contributions to democratic process and accept their defeat in good faith.
He urged all Nigerians to rally round the new leadership for them to execute their mandates.
He expressed confidence in the ability of those who emerged, saying their various experiences will allow the new APC-led Federal Government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, to deliver on their electoral promises to all Nigerians.
The governor admonished the new leaders to carry all members along and ensure that unity, peace and stability pervades the Assembly at all times.
Also the governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, in a statement by his spokesperson, Lere Olayinka, said the victory of Messrs Saraki and Dogara has shown that “Nigeria can’t be owned by anyone”.
The Ekiti governor who also congratulated the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun said; “with what happened at the National Assembly today, those who believed that they can turn Nigeria to their personal estate must have realized the futility of their efforts and the beneficiaries of this collective
resolve by Nigerians must make sure that they do not fail the country.”
Mr. Fayose added that:
in particular, the emergence of Hon Yakubu Dogara as the House of Representatives Speaker is a lesson of life that what goes round will definitely comes round.
Today, Nigerians demonstrated to the entire world that our country has come of age democratically.
Also, President Mohammadu Buhari, by not interfering in the process through which the National Assembly leadership emerged today, further demonstrated that as he said in his inaugural speech, he is indeed for everybody, and he is for nobody.
What happened at the National Assembly today has rekindled my hope in the Nigerian nation and my abiding faith in the supremacy of the people over those whose major interest is to assume the sole-ownership of the country. It also shows that it is not in all cases that the soul of this nation can be bought off the shelf with stupendous wealth,” he said.