Senator Bukola Saraki has been elected president of the Nigerian Senate. He was returned unopposed at the Senate’s inaugural session attended by 57 senators out of 109. Scores of APC senators were at the International Conference Centre, venue of a supposed meeting with President Buhari at the time of the election. The president did not turn up anyway.
Saraki rode on the crest of his former party [PDP] and a division in the majority APC that formally backed Ahmad Lawan for Senate president. The PDP also elected one of its own, Ike Ekweremadu, as deputy Senate president. By Ekweremadu’s election, a minority party has occupied a key Senate position, contrary to a pledge the PDP had made to not contest any seat.
The House of Representatives was, at publishing time, voting for its speaker being contested by Femi Gbajabiamila and Yakubu Dogara. Dogara later won by 182 votes against Gbajabiamila’s 174. Both Dogara and Saraki were members of the PDP.
The 8th National Assembly promises to be turbulent, as rancour in both chambers of the NASS seems to have begun from Day 1 — a bad omen for a nation threatened by mass unemployment, crippling poverty, insecurity and now political instability.
However, some observers see the turn of events as a good omen.
President Buhari has accepted the election of Saraki and Dogara, though he expected the APC’s plan to have been followed, according to a statement issued by Debo Adesina, his spokesman.
Atiku Abubakar has congratulated the new leaders of the NASS, while Bola Tinubu was visibly in shock. The APC has criticised the emergence of Saraki and Dogara, threatening to reverse the “indiscipline and betrayal” through legal means.