An attempt was made at making ambitious Kwara senator, Bukola Saraki Nigeria’s acting president at Tuesday’s senate plenary. Currently, Saraki is president of Senate and is believed to be eyeing the presidency. Opposition senator Enyinnaya Abaribe pushed the envelope during a debate, in which he veered to cite the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, who is currently attending the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He said the absence of the two leaders had created a vacuum in the governmental headship of the country.
“I simply want to bring to the attention of this chamber and all Nigerians and to ask the question, the acting president is the person who is at the head of government now, but we have a serious problem in Nigeria today. We have nobody in Nigeria who is at the head of the government,” Abaribe said.
“The law and the procedure and all the laws in Nigeria states that you cannot have a vacuum. Today the acting president is outside the country and so there is a vacuum.”
However, Abaribe’s colleague, Senator Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara central, APC) made a point of order, which pushed back the subtle move.
Marafa cited order 53 (4) and urged senators to confine themselves to the matter discussed and not bring any “irrelevant” issue.
“Mr President, my distinguished colleagues, it is the abuse of out sensibilities and that of Nigerians everywhere to make the assertion that there is no head of government in Nigeria and that there is a vacuum in the leadership of Nigeria,” Marafa said.
“The constitution is very clear. If the president is out of the country, the constitution is clear as to who is the head of government. If the acting president is out of the country, the senate president is the next in the line of succession.
“You should desist from making this unwarranted remarks.”
Senator Saraki thereafter ruled Abaribe out of order, but not without suggesting the matter could be debated another day.
Saraki said: “He (Marafa) came under order 53 (4). This matter senator Abaribe brought out, as eloquently as being delivered is not in one with the discussion that we have now.
“So, we can have another day for that if need be. But according to our rules, it is not in line with our discussion. I have no choice but to rule the matter out of order.”