The pro and anti-Saraki forces in the Senate renewed their rivalry on Thursday, as senators passed an amendment to the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
The bill, which originated from the House of Representatives, was introduced to the Senate for the final reading (concurrence).
But senators on both sides of the divide, the Senate Unity Forum, which opposed the Senate presidency of Senator Bukola Saraki and the Like Minds Senators, made up of pro-Saraki lawmakers, shouted on top of their voices in attempts to outdo each other.
Those opposed to the amendment of the CCB and CCT acts, who are of the Senate Unity Forum (SUF), raised their voices in their bid to stall the passage of the bill.
The amendment ensures that the power of control over the CCB and CCT now rests with the National Assembly, as against the President. It was passed in the House of Representatives in May 2016.
It was also introduced in the Senate in April 2016 by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, but the gale of public opinion at the time forced him to withdraw the bill.
Senators Ali Ndume, Yahaya Abdullahi, Ahmed Lawan and Adamu Abdullahi made efforts to stall the passage of the bill but the senators in support of the bill had their day.
Senator Lawal, who is the leader of the Senate Unity Forum, said “the Senate is a moderator on legislation. This bill emanated from the House of Representatives and our colleagues there passed it. I agree totally with the submissions of some of our colleagues here that we have to tarry to pass it.
“We will be doing ourselves and this National Assembly a better service if we step down this thing and move on to some other things that will make this a better bill only. We should go ahead only when we have convinced ourselves that what we are trying to do is not for our sake.”
Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions had submitted a report on the bill submitted to the Senate by the House, adding that the committee did “critical examination of the bill, preparatory to concurrence of the Senate.”
Committee chairman, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, told the Senate that the political situation in the country forced the sponsor to withdraw the bill when it was first introduced to the Senate.
He, however, listed the objectives of the bill to include the proposal to amend the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap.C15 Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 by altering the tenure of the office of the chairman and members of the bureau; amend entry age of the chairman and members of the bureau; relocate the power to exercise authority over the bureau from Mr President to the National Assembly; extension of the power of the Attorney-General of the Federation to procure private legal practitioners to prosecute cases for the bureau, as well as to elaborate the provisions of the bill.
The Senate rejected the proposal of Section 1(2)(b), which seeks to reduce the entry age of the chairman and members of the Bureau from 50 to 30 years.
The amendment changed the tenure of office of the chairman and members of the bureau from serving till 70 years to a five-year tenure, while the appointments would be subject to renewal for another term of five years.
The Senate also approved Section 3(d) of the Act, which made it compulsory for any perceived breach or non-compliance to the Act to be brought to the notice of the person involved, to enable him to make a written admission of such breach or non-compliance.
The Senate also passed Section 18(2) of the bill, which empowers the National Assembly to determine those to appear before the CCT.
The Senate introduced Section 20 (2) to the bill to ensure that a minimum of three members of the tribunal would sit at all times.