The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, has confirmed PREMIUM TIMES report delaying the commencement of Senate plenary sessions due to his habitual lateness in the chamber.
This newspaper reported how Mr. Akpabio continually ignored the legislative calendar set by Senate rules for the commencement of plenary sessions.
Subsection (2) of Rule 8 of the Standing Rule of the Senate (as amended) provided that the floor should begin at 10 a.m. on each legislative day.
But a review of plenary voting and procedures indicated that since Akpabio became Senate president in June last year, none of the sessions had met the time requirement mandated by Senate rules.
Meeting with main officials.
Akpabio, in a statement on Sunday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Eseme Eyiboh, explained that the delay in the start of the plenary session was due to him holding meetings with top Senate officials before arriving at the chamber.
He said “emergency issues arise” in meetings between him and top officials whose resolution will require his urgent attention.
The Senate president also stated that his senator’s colleagues who have urgent motions of public or national importance will meet with him before the start of the plenary session.
Akpabio said many of the important urgent national issues facing his colleagues require immediate attention before the plenary session begins.
He highlighted that in many moments the meetings between him and his colleagues extend until the moment when the Senate should begin the plenary session.
“As President, Akpabio meets senior officials before every plenary session and emergency issues arise that deserve urgent attention. Again, in every two plenary sessions, there are always motions of urgent public/national importance from distinguished senators.
“Pursuant to the provisions of the Senate Rules and Regulations, Senators presenting such motions must meet with the President before the Plenary Session. Some of these issues are very urgent and cannot be kept in view and it is expected that the President of the Senate will address them quickly before the start of the Plenary. These circumstances most of the time creep in at the time of onset.
Rule 8 subsection (2) of the Senate Standing Rule (as amended) requiring the plenary session to begin at 10 a.m. on all legislative days.
“The late arrival of the President of the Senate to the floor on a negligible number of times has never affected the industry of the Senate nor was it intended to deliberately deconstruct the core mandate of the core parliamentary mandate of the President of the Senate.”
Read the full statement from Akpabio’s aide:
*Akpabio believes in the essence of time and the value of his colleagues*…
For some time now, a false narrative has been woven around the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON, all in an attempt to give him a semblance of truth.
Although we had ignored the misinformation, it has become necessary to enlighten and educate the reading public so that these stories do not gain traction.
Firstly, unlike what has been reported in the media, Akpabio is known for arriving late to the Plenum, being a politician and intellectual leader, he believes in Benjamin Franklin’s philosophy of “Time is money”. For him, “time is of the essence.” And this is exemplified by his excellent achievements in public and private life. Without good time management skills, he could not have accomplished these feats.
Secondly, Senator Akpabio, as President of the Senate, has absolute respect and consideration for his distinguished colleagues and indeed for all Nigerians. As President of the Senate, he does not ignore the fact that he is one among equals and has no reason to undermine the elevated status of the Distinguished Senators by always keeping them waiting in the Plenary.
However, we want the public to know that as Speaker of the National Assembly, Senator Akpabio and his colleagues are highly experienced and familiar with legislative dynamics and are aware of the enormous legislative and administrative responsibilities of the office of the Senate Speaker. .
Disruptions or delays in any agenda of heads of government, particularly the National Assembly, are generally prioritized and not compromised.
As President, Akpabio meets with senior officials before each plenary session and emergency issues arise that deserve urgent attention. Again, in every two plenary sessions, there are always motions of urgent public/national importance from distinguished senators.
As provided in the Senate Rules and Regulations, Senators presenting such motions must meet with the President before the Plenary Session. Some of these issues are very urgent and cannot be kept in view and it is expected that the President of the Senate will address them quickly before the start of the Plenary. These circumstances most of the time creep in at the time of onset.
The late arrival of the Senate President to the floor in a negligible number of times has never affected the industry of the Senate nor was it deliberately intended to deconstruct the core mandate of the Senate President’s core parliamentary mandate.
Any insinuation suggesting that Senator Akpabio is “habitually late” dating back to when he was governor of Akwa Ibom State is nothing more than selling a bad apple, which no discerning mind will buy.
We can say unequivocally that Senator Godswill Akpabio’s penchant for beating the clock is never in doubt, both in the appointed and elected positions he has held.
We therefore advise those spreading the gospel of Akpabio’s alleged delay in the Plenary to apply the brakes and allow the Uncommon Senate President to concentrate on doing what he does best: giving his all in the service of the nation and The humanity.
_Hon Eseme Eyiboh_
_Special Advisor, Media and Publicity to the President of the Senate_