The Senate has amended its standing rules to prevent first-time senators from vying for top leadership positions within the legislative body.
This move comes after a motion sponsored by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, the majority leader, and seconded by Senator Simon Mwadkwon, the deputy senate majority leader, received unanimous support during a plenary session.
The motion, which aimed to introduce these new rules, received approval from all senators in attendance. Senate President Godswill Akpabio, when putting it to a voice vote, garnered support for the amendment, signaling a united front among the lawmakers on this issue.
The impetus behind this amendment stemmed from the case of Abdulaziz Yari, a former governor of Zamfara state, who sought the position of deputy senate president as a first-time senator.
Despite Yari’s extensive political experience, the motion now bars such candidates from contesting leadership roles during their first term in the senate.
Additionally, the Senate introduced changes to its rules to establish nine new standing committees. Among these changes, a committee on atomic and nuclear energy was created to oversee the Nigeria Nuclear Energy Regulatory Commission and Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission.
Furthermore, the existing committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was divided into two separate panels, focusing on the FCT and FCT area councils.
The sports committee underwent a similar transformation, splitting into two distinct committees: sports development and youth and community engagements. Each committee now has a specific focus, aligning with the broader goals of the senate.
The motion clarified the responsibilities of these committees, specifying their areas of jurisdiction. For instance, the committee on Solid Mineral Development is tasked with overseeing various agencies and entities related to the solid mineral industry. On the other hand, the committee on Mines and Steel Development will supervise agencies and organizations connected to mining and steel development in Nigeria.