Few hours ago, precisely by 12:00am today, Nigeria joined other nations of the world to hush in 2019 where deliveries from multiple political pregnancies will be made in the polity. Taiye Odewale puts up a prognosis, one of which is the last phase of the 8th Senate.
First of such deliveries to be made from the political pregnancies in the land, are expected results from the Presidential and National Assembly elections coming up about 46 days to come , precisely on Saturday, 16, February 2019.
Second on the list of expectancies in the polity in the New Year, are results from governorship elections that would be conducted in 29 out of the 36 states of the federation on Saturday, March 2, 2019 along with State Houses of Assembly elections across the 36 states and Area Council elections for the six Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT, Abuja).
Though results from the Presidential and National Assembly Elections slated for February 16, 2019, are not expected to in any practical way, tamper or reshape the configuration of the 8th Senate whose life span ends on the 8th of June, 2019, having been inaugurated on the 9th of June, 2015, but it will to a great extent, determines how it winds up its last phase of legislative activities.
First of such legislative business is the consideration and approval of the N8.83trillion 2019 budget presented to it along with the House of Representatives by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 19th of December, 2018.
The presentation of the budget, which came just 24 hours to the ongoing three weeks recess embarked upon by the National Assembly on the 20th of December, 2018, remains as it is for now till Wednesday, January 16, 2019 when both chambers of the National Assembly are expected to resume for legislative business.
By tradition and legislative practices, both chambers of the National Assembly are expected to carry out general debates on the principles of the N8.83trillion 2019 budget proposal between Tuesday 8th and Thursday 10th January, 2019 for the required passage for second reading upon which it will be pushed to committee levels for the yearly budget defence sessions with heads of the various Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Being an election year and as authoritatively gathered from the leadership of both chambers, adjournment of plenary sessions will be made on Thursday 10th January, 2019 tentatively to Tuesday 29th January, 2019 (three weeks) for the budget defence sessions at the committee levels which will automatically afford the 78 out of the 109 Senators participating in the general elections to go to their various constituencies or States for those vying for governorship positions, to campaign.
Since 71 out of the 78 Senators participating in the elections are bidding for return into the Senate, which will be decided on the 16th of February this year, there is the high likelihood of the Senate not forming required quorum (33) for plenary sessions after the expiration of the planned three weeks adjournment for budget consideration at committee level in January.
Beyond that, expected participation of majority of the Senators thereafter in the emergence of elected governors in their respective states, may affect plenary sessions till March 5th 2019, three days after the gubernatorial elections across the 29 affected states.
The foregoing strongly indicates that both the Senate and the House of Representatives have only March, April and May this year left as full months for legislative businesses based on realities on the ground.
Will PIB ever achieve 100% passaged?
Aside the 2019 Appropriation bill (budget) that it will have to thoroughly consider and pass before winding up latest by June 8 this year to pave way for the 9th National Assembly, other very important bills to be considered by it are, the second version of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill popularly known as PIB which is expected to take care of the contentious 10% host community fund and the executive bill on June 12 as Democracy Day already passed by the House of Representatives.
Others are the South East Development Commission Bill already passed by the Senate and probably , the North West and South West Development Commission Bills that have scaled first reading on the floor of the Senate and a lot of others awaiting concurrence from either of the chambers.
Though the Senate and by extension, the 8th National Assembly have passed bills surpassing the ones passed by previous Senate or National Assembly particularly from the 4th Assembly (1999 to 2003) , to the 7th National Assembly ( 2011-2015) but the turnover of such bills in terms of refusal of assents by President Muhammadu Buhari, is also higher in number.
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Will it end be rancor free?
Strikingly, being a senate or by extension an Assembly with unique configuration of leadership, where lawmakers from the minority party for now, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are in presiding positions and lawmakers in the majority party for now, the All Progressives Congress (APC) are merely occupying, principal positions, the possibility of ending their sessions in June on remarkable and unified notes are slim.
Using the Senate as a case study, one may not be surprised that what started as a divided house in June 2015, will most likely end on similar note in June 2019 going by its configuration of leadership and membership now, across the two leading parties i.e, APC and PDP.
Will 78 senators return?
For record purposes as for the coming elections, the entire 78 senators out of the 109 bidding to come back to the Senate or going for the governorship position of their respective states are, the Senate President , Bukola Saraki recontesting for the Kwara Central Senatorial Seat on the platform of PDP, his deputy , Ike Ekweremadu, recontesting for the Enugu west senatorial seat on the platform of PDP, the Senate leader, Ahmed Lawan, recontesting for Yobe North Senatorial seat on the platform of APC and the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah , recontesting for Kebbi south senatorial seat on the platform of APC.
Others are Senators Oluremi Tinubu ( APC Lagos Central), Adeola Olamilekan ( APC Lagos West), Tayo Alasoadura ( APC Ondo Central), Ajayi Boroffice ( APC Ondo North), Yele Omogunwa ( APC Ondo South), Abiodun Olujimi ( PDP Ekiti South), Duro Faseyi ( PDP Ekiti North) , Monsurat Sunmonu ( ADC Oyo Central), Abdulfatah Buhari ( APC Oyo North) and Buruji Kashamu (PDP Ogun East).
From South East are Senators Benjamin Uwajumogu (APC Imo Central), Hope Uzodinma ( APC Imo West) , Eyinaya Abaribe ( PDP Abia South), Theodore Orji ( PDP Abia Central) , Mao Ohuabunwa ( PDP Abia North), Stella Oduah ( PDP Anambra North), Andy Uba ( APC Anambra South), Victor Umeh ( APGA Anambra Central) , Chukwuka Utazi ( PDP Enugu North ), Obinna Ogba ( PDP Ebonyi Central), Sam Egwu ( PDP Ebonyi South ) and Sonny Urgboji ( APC Ebonyi North).
From South – South are Senators Rose Oko ( PDP Cross River South) , Genshom Bassey ( PDP Cross River North), John Enoh ( APC Cross River Central), James Manager ( PDP Delta South), Peter Nwaoboshi ( PDP Delta North), Ovie Omo- Agege (APC Delta Central ) , Mathew Urhoghide ( PDP Edo South), Clifford Ordia ( PDP Edo Central), Francis Alimekhena ( APC Edo North ) , Albert Bassey ( PDP Akwa Ibom North East ) Godswill Akpabio ( APC Akwa Ibom North west), Nelson Effiong ( APC Akwa Ibom South) and Andrew Uchebdu ( APC Rivers East).
In the category from the North Central are Senators Rafiu Ibrahim ( PDP Kwara South), Dino Melaye ( PDP Kogi West), Attai Aidoko ( PDP Kogi East), Ahmed Ogembe ( PDP Kogi Central), David Umoru ( APC Niger East), Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi ( APC Niger North), Abdullahi Adamu ( APC Nasarawa West), Barnabas Gemade (SDP Benue North East), George Akume (APC Benue North West), Jeremiah Useni (PDP Plateau South ) and Philip Tanimu Aduda (PDP FCT).
Contesting from the North East are Senators Mohammed Hassan ( PDP Yobe South), Ali Ndume (APC Borno South), Baba Gabai ( APC Borno Central ), Emmanuel Bwacha ( PDP Taraba South), Abubakar Yusuf ( APC, Taraba Central), Binta Garba Masi (APC, Adamawa North ) Murtala Nyako (ADC Adamawa Central), Suleiman Nazif (PDP Bauchi North ) , Isa Misau ( PDP Bauchi South), Bayero Nafada ( PDP Gombe North) and Danjuma Goje ( APC Gombe Central).
From the North west are Senators Aliyu Wammako (APC,Sokoto South), Ibrahim Gobir (APC, Sokoto East), Abdullahi Danbaba (PDP, Sokoto South), Abdullahi Yahaya ( APC Kebbi North), Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi Central), Suleiman Hunkuyi (PDP, Kaduna North), Shehu Sani (PRP, Kaduna Central), Danjuma Lah (PDP, Kaduna South), Baba Kaita (APC, Katsina North) Umar Kurfi (APC, Katsina Central), Ubali Shittu (PDP, Jigawa South), Abdullahi Gumel (APC, Jigawa North), Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South), Jibrin Barau (APC Kano North) and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (PDP, Kano Central).