After a series of postponements and some measure of certainty on their political fates, the Nigerian Senate resumes work today.
In the period they have been on recess, some senators have defected to other parties, some of them – like the Senate president – have contested for offices and lost (even though his party’s senate ticket is being warmed by someone in preparation for Saraki’s takeover), most have contested and won their party’s ticket for reelection, a few have won elections to represent their parties in the governorship race, and on and on.
In the meantime, some very important things were pending their return and some other issues are definitely to be expected because… This is Nigeria.
1. Supplementary Budget for INEC: The N220 billion request for funding for INEC by the Presidency is still unresolved with four months to the elections. The presidency and the Senate have been trading blames for so long but if Nigeria is going to have anything resembling a credible election, then the matter has to be resolved immediately.
2. Chaos: The APC, led by Adams Oshiomhole, appears hell bent on dislodging the Senate President Bukola Saraki who defected to the PDP shortly before the lawmakers went on recess. The party’s NWC has given marching orders to impeach Saraki and given the dynamics of the Senate this would not go down without chaos.
Per Senator Ovie Omo-Agege: “We have all been enjoined as APC senators at a slightest opportunity to remove Saraki and once we are provided with that slightest opportunity, we will remove him and he knows that.”
Of course the PDP caucus is reading that as well as would try not to provide that opportunity.
3. Defection issues: In spite of the noise about impeaching Saraki or not, the truth is that no one is sure of the current party composition in the upper legislative chamber. Which party has more members, and by how many? If it is the APC that has more members, does it have the requisite two-thirds of willing members to effect the change? These are the kinds of questions that would need answers in the coming days. Sadly, it is unlikely that the lawmakers would pay much mind to the issues of governance as the most important priority for them as this time is the massive 2019 election campaigns expected to take place.