Senator Dr. Bukola Abubakar Saraki, a former governor of Kwara State and the senator representing Kwara Central, has been elected the president of the 8th Senate while the incumbent deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, was re-elected as deputy.
Mr. Saraki of the All Progressives Congress (APC), defeated his opponent, Ahmed Lawan, who was absent at the time of the elections to emerge the Senate president. He was elected unopposed as President of 8th Senate by 57 of 108 Senators. The other 51 Senators, including Sen. Ahmed Lawan, were at the International Conference Centre at the time Saraki was declared President. He was nominated by Sani Yerima and seconded by Dino Melaye while Mr. Ekweremadu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was nominated by Abie Sekibo from Rivers State.
It should be recalled that in a bid to frustrate the leadership of their party over their support for Senator Ahmed Lawan’s candidacy for the 8th session of the Nigerian senate, Senator Bukola Saraki and his supporters endorsed ex-senate president, David Mark for a third term as the senate president. The ruling party APC had nominated Senators Ahmed Lawan from Yobe and George Akume from Benue State to run as the party’s candidates for the office of Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively in Tuesday’s election at the National Assembly.
Mr. Saraki and his deputy, Mr. Ekweremadu has since been sworn into office.
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At the lower chamber (House of Representatives), things did not go as easy as it did in the upper chamber (Senate) as after over 4 hours of voting and waiting, Hon. Yakubu Dogara has emerged as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The members of the House of Representatives elected Yakubu Dogara, who represents Bogoro/Tafawa Balewa federal constituency in Bauchi state, as the Speaker of the 8th Assembly.
Mr. Dogara in a keenly contested election defeated his opponent, Femi Gbajabiamila, who represents Surulere federal constituency, Lagos state, and who is also the APC’s official candidate. His chances to win the post received a boost early Tuesday when the opposition PDP, adopted him as its candidate and advised its members to vote for the Bauchi lawmaker.
Mr. Dogara scored 182 votes while Mr. Ggajabiamila polled 174. Honorable Yusuf Lasun representing Osogbo/Olorunda/Orolu/Irepodun of Osun State was elected Deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.
The APC through its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, disassociated itself with the candidacy of Mr. Saraki and Mr. Dogara in a statement, saying “they (Mr. Saraki and Mr. Dogara) were not the candidates of the party and that it (APC) will sanction the disloyal members of the party.”
The statement read in full:
“Senator Bukola and Hon. Dogara are not the candidates of the APC and a majority of its National Assembly members-elect for the positions of Senate President and House Speaker.
“The party duly met and conducted a straw poll and clear candidates emerged for the posts of Senate President, Deputy Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, supported by a majority of all Senators-elect and members-elect of the House of Representatives.
“All National Assembly members-elect who emerged on the platform of the party are bound by that decision. The party is supreme and its interest is superior to that of its individual members.
“Consequently, the APC leadership is meeting in a bid to re-establish discipline in the party and to mete out the necessary sanctions to all those involved in what is nothing but a monumental act of indiscipline and betrayal to subject the party to ridicule and create obstacles for the new administration.
“There can be no higher level of treachery, disloyalty and insincerity within any party,” the statement concluded.