For Speaking Against Election Reordering, Sen. Omo-Agege Suspended
The Nigerian Senate on Thursday, April 12, 2018, suspended Senator Ovie Omo-Agege for ninety legislative days, over his comment, that the amendment to the Electoral Act 2010 to reorder the sequence of polls in a general election was targeted at Pres Buhari.
The suspension of Sen. Omo-Agege came after he was investigated by the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, based on a petition by Senator Dino Melaye. Omo-Agege alongside nine other Senators had staged a walkout after the Senate passed the bill.
The report by the committee, which was considered at the plenary on Thursday, found the lawmaker guilty despite his apology to the chamber and recommended that he be suspended for 181 legislative days (one year).
Presenting the recommendations of the committee, the chairman, Senator Sam Anyanwu, described Omo-Agege’s statement as malicious, unfounded and aimed at smearing the institution of the senate.
“The statement of Ovie Omo-Agege was malicious, unfounded and aimed at smearing the institution of the senate,” Anyanwu announced.
“At the committee, he responded that he would not be able to make any presentation before the committee because he had taken the matter to court. That the matter be postponed until it is discharged by the court.
“After Senator Ovie had admitted guilt on the floor of the senate on the 21 of February by apologizing to the leadership and the entire senate. The committee was surprised that he changed his mind and took the senate President the senate to court.
“As a forthright member of the committee, this action infuriated the committee who fired questions from all directions at him. When asked if the court action came before or after the matter was referred to the committee, he kept mute.
“After his apology, he and Senator Abdullahi Adamu published an advert on Vanguard Newspaper with the heading, ‘Parliamentary support group in Senate for President Muhammadu Buhari’ suggesting that the Senate was biased.
“The committee is of the opinion that the action by Senator Ovie going to court after apologizing to the senate was unacceptable especially as an experienced lawyer and a member of the committee and is conversant with the modus operandi therefore must be punished to serve as a deterrent to others who might contemplate to take the senate to court over its internal matters.
“The senate immediately disengages Ovie Omo-Agege for 181 legislative days to serve as a deterrent to other senators who might contemplate taking the senate to court over its internal matters,” he declared.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, however, pleaded that the duration of the suspension be reduced to 90 days (six months), which was unanimously granted. The Senate also resolved that Omo-Agege should withdraw a case he instituted against the chamber, while asking that the pro-Buhari ‘Parliamentary Support Group’ to be disbanded.