Senate President Godswill Akpabio, on Wednesday, emphasised the unity and maturity of the Nigerian Senate, even amidst disagreements.
“In the parliament, sometimes you disagree to agree. But we will never get to the point of throwing chairs. The Senate is too mature, full of matured people,” Akpabio told State House Correspondents after closed-door talks with President Bola Tinubu at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
Akpabio’s visit comes barely 24 hours after the senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, stormed out of the chamber.
Trouble began minutes after the commencement of the day’s session on Tuesday when Ndume (APC, Borno South) raised a point of order to draw the Senate President’s attention to alleged procedural errors he (Akpabio) committed.
Ndume had referenced a motion on the need for re-opening the Nigeria-Niger border, which was moved by Senator Sumaila Kawu (NNPP, Kano South), which Akpabio allowed to be debated without first having the official title of the motion read as the normal procedure.
Ndume, standing on Order 51 of the Senate Standing Rules, requested that the Senate President allow for the correction of any error made or observed during plenary.
While he spoke, Akpabio swiftly ruled him out of order, saying it could not be revisited since he had ruled on issues raised.
In the heat of the argument, Ndume picked up his documents and a few other belongings and stormed out of the Senate chamber.
His action, unexpected, led the Senate to dissolve into a closed-door session.
Speaking with State House Correspondents after meeting on Wednesday, the Senate President, however, dismissed any crisis in the legislature.
“We are all working in one accord. There is no problem at all. Even if some people disagree with some of the happenings in the Senate, it is only the majority decision that is going to prevail,” he noted.
Akpabio further explained that any arising disagreements are swiftly handled in closed sessions, ensuring unity and solidarity are maintained.
Highlighting the Senate’s commitment to the nation’s interests, Akpabio remarked, “We are politicians, no permanent hatred but permanent interest. That interest is the interest of the nation.”
He emphasised the Senate’s role in supporting the President and his administration through legislation and oversight functions, all aimed at moving the country forward.
In his meeting with President Tinubu, Akpabio said he discussed the upcoming 10th Assembly retreat taking place in Akwa Ibom State.
He sought the President’s support for representation at the retreat, which was granted.
“I came to inform the President of the first 10th Assembly retreat which is taking place tomorrow in Akwa Ibom State.
“We are moving the Senate all the way to Akwa Ibom for the next four days.
“Thereafter, I will be travelling personally to Angola to attend the internal parliamentary union, so before he sees me, it will probably take another nine days. So, I needed to inform him,” he said.