Enang, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters (Senate), said the management of the federal parliament had no right to amend the Senate rule book. He argued that the National Assembly management could not use “the 2015 rule book which it produced to contest the election on the day of inauguration, stressing that the “2011 rule book, remains the most authentic legal document for now.” But Ekweremadu disagreed with him, saying that the management of the nation’s legislature could actually make new rules for the lawmakers between the period of dissolution of an outgoing Senate and the inauguration of a new one. The 2011 rule book which Enang described as the only legal rule, known to the National Assembly, has provision for open ballot, whereas the 2015 version produced by the management made provision for an open-secret voting. Enang stated his position while delivering a lecture, “Parliamentary Practice and Procedure under the 1999 Constitution” at the orientation programme organised for newly-elected federal lawmakers in Abuja. Ekweremadu was the chairman of the lecture segment and the disagreement occurred during the question and answer session. Enang said, “Nothing can be done on the floor on that day except to elect the presiding officers. Until you (elected members) are sworn in as a senator, you cannot participate in amending the rules. “The management cannot make rule because it is clearly stated that the National Assembly shall regulate its proceedings. It is referring to the elected members after they have been sworn in.” Enang noted that the rule currently being used by the 8th Senate was only allowed in ‘honour’ because it was produced by the National Assembly management without the input of the lawmakers. He said, “The rule that the management can make is the National Assembly rule. We need to establish that the current rule was made by the National Assembly. “Is there a record that the rule was ever adopted by the 7th Assembly before we were dissolved? The answer is No! “The rule available now is the 2011 rule because it was the only rule that shows that the National Assembly adopted its own rule. “When the members come, they can now make new rule. Has the 8th Senate ever adopted the rule which was allegedly forged? There is no record that they did it. “So the 2015 rule has a legal challenge as it were. The current rule is only binding on honour because it has never been adopted on the floor. “The newly-elected members have no say on the proceedings on the day of the inauguration apart from participating in the election of presiding officers. “It is when the presiding officers have been elected and sworn in that they will now swear-in the new members too” The Deputy Senate President disagreed with Enang, saying that the National Assembly management could make rule between the period of the Senate dissolution and the inauguration of the next Senate.]]>
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