YBTC News covers the constitutional implication of Saraki’s impeachment
A lot of controversies have been rounding the air regarding the defection of the 8th Assembly’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki to opposition minority party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
This to many, has made the Leader of the Assembly lose his rights to the office and as such should either resign or be impeached. Therefore, the impeachment attempt of Tuesday 7th of August,2018 only buttresses this notion.
But what we should note is, ” whether or not calling for his impeachment is constitutional”.
However, here is what the Nigerian 1999 Constitution as amended stipulates as regards the National Assembly’s Leadership :
According to Section 50 (1)(a), of the constitution, ” A President and Deputy President of the Senate, shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves”.
As stipulated above, there is no constraint placed on lawmakers from the minority party from seeking the position of the Senate President. As rightly noted, Saraki emerged leader of the 8th Assembly through a majority vote cast by the multi-member plurality voting system of the Senate, marking his eligibility.
Similarly, only in the following situations will the Senate President or his Deputy, the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives eligibility may cease:
- a) if he ceases to be a member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, otherwise then by reason of a dissolution of the Senate or the House of Representatives; or
- b) when the House of which he was a member first sits after any dissolution of that House; or
- c) if removed from office by a resolution of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, by votes of not less than two-thirds majority of the members of the House.
Unless impeached by a two-thirds majority in the Senate, Bukola Saraki’s eligibility as the Senate President cannot be contested. And with a failed attempt yesterday which yielded 48 lawmakers voting in his favour, little can be done to deny him the office.
After the last defections of 15 members of the All Progressive Congress (APC), the number of Senate members representing APC totals 52 maintaining a slim-majority while PDP has 51, ADC has 3 and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) has 2 making a total of 107 seating-members with two vacant seats due to the deaths of Senator Ali Wakili (Bauchi-South) and Mustapha Bukar (Katsina-North).
It is important to note that, Saraki will not be the first Leader of Nigerian parliament from a minority party joining the likes of Edwin Ume-Ezeoke (2nd Republic Speaker of the House of Representatives) from NPP as against Shagari’s ruling party, NPN.
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