The Senate is conceived as the paragon and nidus of maturity, wisdom, justice and knowledge. The name ‘Senate’ comes from the Latin word ‘senatus’ which literarily means old man (senex). The modern day Senate has it origin in ancient Roman history and tradition.
The Senate is envisaged as the stabiliser of the polity. This is why the Senate must be freed from any shenanigan that will put its image and character into disrepute. In many countries of the world the Senate is constitutionally and conventionally regarded as the Upper Law-making Chamber of Government while the House of Representatives is seen as the Lower Chamber.
In Nigeria, the Constitution is silent between the Senate and the House of Representatives which of them should be regarded as the Upper Chamber. But the fact that the Constitution provides that the President of the Senate is the Chairman of the National Assembly puts any contest for superiority beyond dispute or argument.
This is why the President of the Senate is the Chairman of the National Assembly. Section 53 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides thus: ‘(2) At any joint sitting of the Senate and House of Representatives – (a) the President of Senate shall preside, and in his absence the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall preside; and (b) in the absence of the persons mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection, the Deputy President of the Senate shall preside, and in his absence the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall preside.’
The Senate is regarded as the balancer between the usual boisterousness, lousiness, tempestuousness and immaturity of the House of Representatives and the maturity, temperance and sobriety of the Senate.
However, the odour oozing from the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in recent time is stench and fetid personified. The centre has not been held together in the Senate since the 9th June, 2015, when chicanery and inferior methods were deployed and employed by some vaulting ambitious Senators to outwit and scheme out almost 59 Senators from participating in the election of the President and Deputy President of the Senate.
Nevertheless the bubble has busted in the Senate. The Nigeria Police Force has forensically established that the Senate Standing Rules 2015 that were used to conduct the election of the President and Deputy President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 9th June, 2015, were forged by some bureaucrats in the National Assembly unholy alliance with some Senators that were obviously desperate for power!
There is a fundamental principle of law which says that you cannot place something on nothing. If you put something on nothing, it will not stand; it will surely crumble and collapse, like a pack of cards.
The dialectical consequences of the fact that the election of Senator Bukola Saraki and Senator Ike Ekweremadu as President and Deputy President of the Senate, respectively, was premised on a forged Senate Standing Rules, 2015, is that there was no election of the President of the Senate and Deputy President of the Senate on the 9th June, 2015.
In other words, Senator Saraki and Senator Ekweremadu are imposters! Out of nothing comes nothing! The scandal that forged Rules were used to elect the Senate leadership is outrageous, despicable and pathetically intolerable. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth. It accentuates the degree with which the culture of impunity has enveloped and pervaded the fabric of the country.
The path of honour and rectitude is for both Senator Saraki and Senator Ekweremadu to resign their positions. They both lack the moral authority and legitimacy to steer the affairs of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The law must take its course. Those behind the forgery of the Senate Standing Rules must be made to face the unpleasantness of the law squarely.
Let justice be done and let it be ingrained in Nigerians that for every action, there is a reaction/consequence. If this will be the beginning of our moral rectitude, so be it. Written by Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla