This article is part of our #FirstWord series to provide context on trending news.
On 24th July 2018, Nigeria’s National Assembly announced that it would not sit for the next two months. The adjournment made by Senate President Bukola Saraki (PDP-Kwara) stated that the Senate would reconvene only on September 25th.
The suspension of plenary by the National Assembly came in response to the siege on the residence of Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu by security operatives. The siege was part of a plan to prevent mass defection of aggrieved senators to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which, by the way, eventually happened.
What are the implications?
The National Assembly failing to reconvene means that pending urgent matters before the adjournment have been put on hold till further notice.
One of the issues, the approval of a supplementary budget to fund the 2018 budget and the 2019 general elections is hanging. The supplementary funds, when approved, would enable the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to start gearing up for the 2019 polls.
Key appointments for the Deputy CBN Governor, AMCON, EFCC, ICPC etc are also pending till the Senate gets back to work.
The Presidency, on August 5th 2018, appealed to the National Assembly to suspend the ongoing recess and attend to the requests tendered before them by President Muhammadu Buhari. The appeal was made by Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly matters.
While President Muhammadu Buhari is on his 10-day vacation in London, Yemi Osinbajo, who is acting President will need all the legislative support he can get. Considering the Senate’s mini holiday, this looks like a stretch.
New NASS leadership?
Following the suspension of National Assembly activities and mass defections of members, including the Senate President to the PDP, there have been threats from the APC (All Progressive Congress) to force the Senate President to resign.
This more than anything is cheap talk because the APC needs votes from two-thirds of the National Assembly to vote against Bukola Saraki before he can be removed. The party does not have this at the moment as it has now become the minority party in the National Assembly.
Till the National Assembly resumes plenary, key pending matters stay pending.