Senate Standing Rules Was Forged, Says Marafa
Senator Kabir Garba Marafa is the All Progressives Congress (APC) senator representing Zamfara Central district and strong member of the Unity Group. He speaks on the festering leadership crisis in National Assembly ahead next week resumption.
What is your view on the alleged forgery of Senate Standing Rules? The assertion that each assembly automatically comes with its own fresh standing order is not correct.
The first standing order came into effect in 1999 when the 4th Assembly was inaugurated just like the 1999 Constitution because it is an offshoot of the Constitution.
The Constitution gave the National Assembly the power to regulate its own proceedings and based on this, the first one was produced and handed over to the 4th Assembly.
The subsequent ones were only amended through the amendment process prescribed by the book itself. Remember that it is the Standing Order that differentiates the chamber from a jungle.
It went ahead, just like the Constitution in section 9 (1-4) to state how it can be amended when the need arises, Order 110 (1-5) gives details of how that can be done. So, it is not for any bureaucrat, anybody or group of persons to sit down and write or insert something and hand it over to another assembly.
How many of such amendments were made? I do not know how many were made because I was not in the National Assembly since the beginning, but the one that concerns me is the 2007 edition that was amended on the 18th and May 24, 2011 by the Sixth Assembly. If you go to the record and check, you will see the amendment procedures and everything in the votes and proceedings of that day.
If you go further to May 24, 2011, you will see the Order Paper where the amendment of 2007 was adopted by the 6th Assembly. That amendment gave birth to Senate Standing Order 2011 as amended.
That was the book we used in the 7th Assembly. Our argument is that we saw the pregnancy that gave birth to the Senate Standing Order 2011, but we could not see where the 2011 Order was amended to give birth to Standing Order 2015 as amended.
We checked all the votes and proceedings from 6th June 2011 when the 7th National Assembly was inaugurated to 4th June 2015, but we could not see any evidence of amendment to the Senate standing order 2011 like we saw that of 2007.
Are you alleging that some members of APC connived with the past leadership of PDP to forge it? I do not know who did what, all I am saying is that the laws of the Senate were forged and as a Nigerian and a Senator of the Federal Republic, I want that criminality investigated and appropriate sanctions applied.
What is expected of the Senate President for peace to reign? The issue of going back to 2011 is left for only the court to decide because it comes with a lot of problems.
He is the Senate President now and there is a Deputy Senate President that was declared by whatever means. So, you cannot sit down in a corner and say he is no longer the Senate President or that the other is no longer the Deputy Senate President.
It is just like an election, once the result is announced, even INEC cannot turn back and say ‘no, you did not win, Once they announce the result, it is out of their control.
It is only the court that can say ‘no, INEC you are wrong. What we mean by going back to the rules is, he erroneously read a letter from some unknown persons from unknown entities called caucuses and announced the leadership of our own party, that is the Senate Leader and Deputy Senate Leader and the rest.
He did that in manifest error because it was in contravention of our Order 3(2). Those Senators are not qualified to hold the positions they are holding, judging from where they come from.
Take for instance Senator Bala Na’Allah is junior to six Senators from North West. So, he cannot become Senate Deputy Majority Leader; he cannot. Unless if it is arbitrary, if it’s so, then, it becomes a jungle and the strongest senator from Northwest will take over his seat on resumption and may be another one will claim to be the Senate President.
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