A Senator from Kaduna, Kabiru Marafa almost set the Senate into a state of commotion on Tuesday as he attempted to reverse the vote of Confidence passed by majority of Senators in the leadership of the Senate.The Senator who disagreed with the vote of confidence his colleagues passed in the Senate President and the leadership raised a point of order to reverse the motion, which he argued contravened a section of the Senate Rules.
Marafa had sited the Senate’s Order 53 (5) and (8), arguing that the vote of Confidence passed in Saraki and the Leadership of the Senate violated the sections of the Senate’s Rule.
The Section sited by the Senator from Kaduna had established that vote of confidence could not be passed on any member who has a case pending in a court or a Tribunal.
Marafa argued that the Senate passed a vote of confidence in Saraki while contravening the Senate Rule and hence insisted that the action the Senate took was wrong.
Marafa said he had made attempts to draw the attention of the Senate to the standing rule, only that the Senate President did not acknowledge him.
Meanwhile, the Senator resisted attempts by Saraki to make him read out the section of the Senate Standing Rule, just as an altercation ensued between him and Saraki who ruled later him out of order.
A visibly angry Senator Marafa stood on his feet and began to chant abusive words on the Senate President and members who attempted to placate him.
Marafa particularly picked offence in one of his colleagues, Senator Isah Amman Misau (Bauchi) who attempted to placate him as he yelled abusive words on the Senator who he threatened to beat.
At a point, Marafa became implacable and had charged towards his colleague with intent to descend on him for daring to ask him (Marafa) to take his seat when he was already taking on the Senate President for allowing a vote of confidence to be passed on him.
Attempts by his colleagues to calm him down further infuriated him as he began to shout on top of his voice, stating, “I want to be heard. I deserve to be heard. If as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I cannot speak on issues, then I should go home..”
He continued, “I will continue to speak out my mind. No body, not even you Saraki can stop me. What we are doing here is wrong and you will not allow me to speak out. I will continue to speak”
At that point more of his colleagues in the Unity Forum group rallied round to calm him down, while Saraki’s main rival in the contest for the Senate President’s seat, Senator Ahmed Lawam advised that he be taken out of the Red Chamber to be calmed down.
Senators Adeyeye, Abdulfatai Buhari, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Gbenga Ashafa, Omoworare and others however succeeded in dragging the angry Senator out of the chamber for some minutes to enable him regain composure.
However, the action by Senator Marafa drew the ire of most of the Senators in attendance, while some mooted an idea that he be suspended.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, however came to his rescue when he pleaded mercy on his behalf after describing his action very ‘regrettable’
By his intervention, Ekweremadu apologised to the Senate and Nigerians in general on the conduct of Senator Marafa, urging him and other senators to always exercise sense of maturity on any matter of concern to them.
He said Senator Marafa deserved a suspension by his conduct, noting that his action, though an embarrassment to the Senate and Nigerians would be pardoned in the interim.
He said the Senate rules provide for suspension of such un-parliamentary conduct, whereas it was only the late Senator Arthur Nzeribe who had earned the Senate’s sanction with suspension in the history of the Senate since 1999 till date.
He said Senators should avoid pushing their colleagues to the point of applying any form of sanction by suspension, by putting up immature conducts during plenary.
Ekweremadu thanked all Senators for exercising maturity and understanding over the conduct by Senator Marafa, just as he appealed for calm and a conducive working atmosphere for the Senate to excel.
He said, “We must continue to work together to promote peace and harmony among ourselves. We have to do this in the interest of Nigeria and to ensure that the New Nigeria that we are all aspiring to build come to reality”