By Olugbenga Salami
Senate has adjourned plenary session for lack of quorum as as majority of the senators have travelled for oversight functions outside Abuja, the seat of power.
ROYAL NEWS reports that only 20 senators attended the plenary whereas 37 out of 109 lawmakers are required to form a quorum for sitting and making laws.
Consequently, the upper legislative chamber adjourned and fixed the next legislative day for Tuesday, November 20.
Barely three minutes into the session that began at about 10.55am, the Minority Whip of the Senate, Senator Philip Aduda, PDP-FCT rose through Order 10(3) of the senate’s standing rules to draw the attention of his colleagues for the lack of quorum and the need for the adjournment.
According to him, since the Order states that “a session of the senate can only be held when the required quorum of 37 members out of 109 is formed, the Senate should adjourn the sitting till next legislative day”.
He said: “We are less than 10, Mr. President, I want to move that since we have not formed quorum, we may therefore adjourn, but in doing so, I want to say that the senate is empty because various committees are carrying out oversight duties, they are all over the country, ensuring that the budget is performing.
“On that note the senate may wish to extend the period of oversight functions if the senate so wish by another week till Tuesday, November 20”.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu seconded the motion by saying “I rise to second the motion ably moved by Senator Aduda, but let me add that we are more than 10 but certainly not up to 38. We are somewhere between 15 and 20. Just for the record we are not less than 10 but less than 20”.
Accordingly, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki put it to voice votes and got overwhelming adoption from the 20 senators in the chambers.
But after adoption of the motion, Saraki said: “it is important that our members who are not here, we should communicate to them, those on oversight to finish what they have during the week – in the area of oversight.
“Some of the findings from the oversight are important and it is important that the exercise is done diligently and we should ensure that it is completed by the end of this week. That is in line with order 10(3)”.
In finally moving for adjourning of the plenary till Tuesday next, the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, APC-Yobe North, said: “having adopted this motion it is mandatory that we stand down all the items on the order paper to the next legislative week , precisely next week Tuesday, November 20, 2018” which was seconded by the Senate Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, PDP-Taraba South.
Out of the 20 senators who attended the scanty session, non of the seven female senators was in attendance while some of the remaining 102 male senators in attendance included Senators Saraki, Ekweremadu, Lawan, Bwacha and Aduda.
Others are Senators Francis Alimikhena, APC-Edo North, Abu Ibrahim, APC-Katsina South, Rafiu Ibrahim, PDP-Kwara South, Joshua Lidani, PDP-Gombe North, Emmanuel Paulker, PDP-Bayelsa Central, Ben Murray-Bruce, PDP-Bayelsa East etc.