The Nigerian Senate has suspended Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, for 90 days over his remark that the reordered election sequence was targeted at President Muhammdu Buhari.
Omo-Agege, shortly after the passage of the amendment to the 2010 Electoral Act, told newsmen that the change in the sequence was targeted at President Buhari.
He said, “You don’t make a law to target one person. The perception is that the law is targeted at the president. I will continue to protest it. I can tell you it will not become a law,”.
However, his statement did not go down well with the leadership of the Senate who ordered an investigation to be carried out by its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions committee.
The committee presented its report to the house this morning. Amongst the recommendation was for Omo-Agege to be suspended for 180 legislative days (1 year). Senate President Bukola Saraki upon receiving the recommendations, called for leniency. After much deliberation, the suspension was reduced to 90 days (six months).
Here’s the speech from senate president, Bukola Saraki, announcing Omo-Agege’s suspension;
Distinguished Colleagues, a number of points have been raised. One borders on the issue of preserving the integrity of this institution. To me, that is what i think is the most important thing for us.
Second, is where we take actions that are not sincere. I think in this chamber, if we want to talk about who has the right to say he is Chairman of a Parliamentary Support Group for Mr. President both by action and by what we have done, I think that I have the right to lead that — more than anyone else here.
Those of us that understand politics, understand that because of our own peculiar interest, sometimes some people decide to act like they are holier than thou or more committed — at the expense of others. This is not something that we should tolerate, and I believe that in an institution like this we must show discipline, but at the same time we must also show compassion.
Distinguished Colleagues, there must be discipline. We must show that such groups must be suspended and the case in court must be withdrawn.
In consideration of that we can look at leniency on what is being recommended.
Distinguished Colleagues I’d like for you to make recommendations on this going forward.
I think by that we would have captured:
1. No more of these kind of groups in the Senate;
2. The issue of court actions;
3. We are not in any hurry to take anybody away from this family; and
4. We must lay down an example by showing that there is discipline and apply some form of discipline on this matter.
If I can make recommendations from this chair, I’d say that this issue before us, maybe we should reduce the number of days by half but with an understanding that we can revisit and look at this issue. We must send out a strong message. There are some people who are fanatics and such actions will expose a lot of people and allies.
1. The senator involved, Sen Agege should withdraw the case;
2. The support group should be disbanded; and
3. Out of compassion, we amend the recommendation of the committee to 90 days and we move forward.