According to the new rule, any senator wishing to contest for the position of the Senate President and Deputy Senate President must have spent a minimum of one term in the Senate.
The Senate has amended its standing orders to prevent first-term Senators from vying for the positions of President and Deputy President of the Senate respectively.
The amendment to Rule 3(2) (1-3) of the Senate Standing Orders was made during Tuesday’s plenary following the adoption of a motion on “Amendment of the Standing Orders of the Senate pursuant to Order 109 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022″, sponsored by the leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central).
With the new amendment to the Senate standing orders, first-term senators are now excluded from those qualified or eligible to contest for the position of presiding officer of the red chamber.
The amended Rule now stipulates that a senator wishing to contest for the position of the Senate President and Deputy Senate President must have spent a minimum of one term in the Senate.
The new rule states, “In determining the ranking, the following Order shall apply: (i) senators returning based on the number of times re-elected; (ii) senators who had been members of the House of Representatives and (iii) Senators elected as senators for the first time.”
This move by the red chamber is arguably linked to the leadership tussle between first-term lawmaker and former Governor of Zamfara State, Senator Abdulaziz Yari, and Senator Godswill Akpabio for the position of the President of the Senate.
The Senate also amended its rules and created an additional nine Standing Committees.
They are the Committee on Atomic and Nuclear Energy, which would oversee the Nigeria Nuclear Energy Regulatory Commission, Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, and their annual budget estimates.
The Committee on Federal Capital Territory and the FCT Area Councils Committee were split into two separate standing committees.
The annual budget of FCT, the planning for the new Federal Capital Territory, and control of development would all be within the purview of the Committee on FCT.
Also, the Committee on FCT Area Councils would oversee Area Council Mandate, Area Council Service Commission, Area Council Staff Pension Board, Auditor-General for the Area Council, and other agencies or departments under FCT.
Similarly, the Committee on Sports was divided into two standing committees namely the Committee on Sports Development and the Committee on Youth and Community Engagements.
According to the Senate, the jurisdiction of the Committee on Sports Development shall include the Federal Ministry of Sport Development, National Lottery Commission, National Institute for Sports, Nigeria Football Federation, Sports Arena Development, national and international sporting activities, sports administration, and annual budget estimates.
It further said the jurisdiction of the Committee on Youth and Community Engagements shall include the Federal Ministry of Youth Development, National Youth Service Corps, Citizens and Leadership Training Centre, Offices of the Senior Assistant to the President on Community Engagement in the six geo-political zones, youth movements activities and associations and its annual budget estimates.
Additionally, the Committee on Solid Minerals, Steel Development, and Metallurgy was divided into the Committee on Solid Mineral Development and the Committee on Mines and Steel Development.
The Senate said the Committee on Solid Mineral Development “shall oversee Federal Ministry of Solid Mineral Development, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, Mining Cadastre Office and Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscientist, Nigerian Metallurgical Training Institute, Solid Minerals Development Fund, Nigeria Institute of Mining and Geoscience, National Metallurgical Development Centre, exploration of minerals extraction and quarry, geological survey and minerals investigation as well as explosives.
“The Committee on Mines and Steel Development shall oversee the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Aluminum Smelting Company of Nigeria, Ajaokuta Steel Development Company, National Iron Ore Mining Company, National Steel Raw Material Exploration Agency and their budgets.”