Suspension of Omo-Agege: Formation of Parliamentary Support Group is evil, says Senator Marafa
The Senate on Tuesday suspended a lawmaker, Ovie Omo-Agege, for accusing his colleagues of working against President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election plans in 2019.
Mr Omo-Agege in February accused colleagues of working against Mr Buhari by adopting the amendment to section 25 of electoral act outlining a change in the sequence of elections.
Mr Omo-Agege had said then: “For some of you who are familiar with what transpired in the House of Reps, only 36 members were on the floor when this so-called amendment to section 25 of the Electoral Act was introduced. The position we took is that 36 people cannot determine the destiny of 360 people in the House (of Reps), which is now being carried over to 109 in the Senate. The least we are owed is for this so-called amendment to be deliberated upon and our rule is clear.
“We have 59 senators who are opposed to the inclusion of section 25 of the Electoral Act. If that division was allowed today, 59 senators would have voted to delete that purported amendment to section 25. You don’t make a law targeted at one person. The perception out there is that this section 25 was included to target Mr. President.”
A week after, Dino Melaye, (Kogi-APC) drew the attention of the senate specifically to the comments made by Mr Omo-Agege.
The matter was referred to the committee on ethics and privileges to investigate.
Presenting the report on Thursday, the chairman of the committee, Sam Anyanwu, recommended 181 days of suspension.
He said the punishment was imperative because the senator took the issue to court after it was referred to the committee.
The days of suspension was however reduced to 90 after pleas by Senate President Bukola Saraki.
“The statement of Ovie Omo-Agege was malicious, unfounded and aimed at smearing the institution of the senate,” Mr Anyanwu said while reading the report.
“At the committee, he responded that he would not be able to make any presentation before the committee because he had taken the matter to court. That the matter be postponed until it is discharged by the court.
“After Senator Ovie had admitted guilt on the floor of the senate on the 21st of February by apologising to the leadership and the entire senate, the committee was surprised that he changed his mind and took the senate to court.
“As a forthright member of the committee, this action infuriated the committee who fired questions from all directions at him. When asked if the court action came before or after the matter was referred to the committee,” he kept mute.
“After his apology, he and Senator Abdullahi Adamu published an advert on Vanguard Newspaper with the heading, ‘Parliamentary Support Group in Senate for President Muhammadu Buhari’ suggesting that the senate was biased.
“The committee is of the opinion that the action by Senator Ovie going to court after apologising to the senate was unacceptable especially as an experienced lawyer and a member of the committee and is conversant with the modus operandi therefore must be punished to serve as a deterrent to others who might contemplate to take the senate to court over its internal matters.”
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