Leadership (Abuja)

10 January 2014

Nigeria: Senate Will Not Declare Defecting Senators Seats Vacant - Abaribe

The spokesman for the Senate, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe , has said that the upper chamber of the National Assembly will not declare vacant the seats of senators who defect to other parties.

Abaribe said in a statement in Abuja on Friday that it had become necessary for the Senate to distance itself from the personal opinion of one of its members, Sen. Ita Enang (PDP-Akwa Ibom).

He said Enang expressed a personal opinion by telling newsmen in Abuja on Thursday that the Senate was lawfully supposed to declare the seat of any defecting senator vacant.

The clarification is against the backdrop of some senators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) reportedly planning to join All Progressives Congress (APC).

Abaribe also distanced the President of the Senate, Sen. David Mark, from Enang's statement.

He said the view was Enang's personal opinion to which he was entitled but had nothing to do with the Senate as a chamber of the National Assembly.

Abaribe also said the statement had nothing to do with the Senate president, who had in a statement given assurance that the leadership of PDP would work to keep the party intact and prevent further crisis in the party.

Abaribe said that "in the first place, there is no acrimony in the Senate irrespective of political party affiliation.

"The Senate is still on vacation to resume on the 14th of Jan. and only after its deliberations would any statement on urgent matters of state be issued.

"It is, therefore, preposterous to attribute the personal opinion of a senator to represent the resolution of the Senate and its highly respected leadership as exemplified by Senate President Mark.

"Senate position, as statutory, is always relayed by its spokesman. In which case it becomes safe to say that Senate has spoken," he said.

Abaribe further said that the Senate was at peace and that there was no sign that senators were working at cross purposes with one another.

"It is one whole family of patriotic Nigerians who first and foremost defers to issues that are of national interest.

"The Senate as presently constituted is peopled by very distinguished Nigerians who see the institution for what it is, a hallowed chamber whose decisions and resolutions are shaped by honour and love for the country," he said. (NAN)

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