Senate Chamber

Most new senators may not chair committees in 9th Senate

NEWS DIGEST–Many newly elected senators may not have the opportunity of becoming chairmen of committees unlike the situation in the 8th Senate when most newcomers were made to head many panels of the red chamber.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, was generous in the appointment of chairmen of the committees in the 8th Senate by ensuring that 42 out of the 70 panels in the red chamber were headed by freshers.

Notable among them are Senators Rafiu Ibrahim (Banking, Insurance and other financial institutions), Tayo Alasoadura (Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Ben Murray-Bruce (Privatisation), Aliyu Abdullahi (Public Affairs), Peter Nwaboshi (Niger Delta), Abdulfatai Buhari (ICT and Cybercrime), and Sam Egwu (Industry).

Others are Ovie Omo-Agege (Land Transport), Shehu Sani (Local and Foreign debts), Lanre Tejuosho (Health), Monsurat Sunmonu (Foreign Affairs), Bassey Akpan (Gas resources), Matthew Uroghide (Public Accounts), Abubakar Kyari (Defence), Duro Faseyi (Air Force), Isiaka Adeleke (Capital market).

Investigations by Punch revealed that the outcome of the 2015 National Assembly elections led to the emergence of many fresh senators unlike the situation in 2019 where more ranking senators have been elected.

Many of the 66 newly elected members of the senate were not in the 8th Senate but could also not be categorised as freshers.

This is because they had either been members of the red chamber or the House of Representatives in the past.

Some of them are Opeyemi Bamidele (APC), Bunmi Adetunbi (APC), Teslim Folarin (APC), Ayo Akinyelure (PDP ), Ibikunle Amosun (APC), Orji Uzor Kalu (APC), Orker Jev (PDP), and Godiya Akwashiki (APC), among others.

A first time senator in 2015 from the South-East geopolitical zone, who got a juicy committee in the 8th Senate, told our correspondent on condition of anonymity on Sunday that the incoming leadership of the 9th Senate may not be as magnanimous as their predecessors in that regard.

He said, “I don’t see the same arrangement playing out in the sense that Senate President had an alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party members who supported his emergence.

“Many PDP members in the senate then were newcomers and he had to compensate them for electing him as senate president. There may not be the same scenario now and the leadership would have to allocate committee chairmanship to the ranking members.”