Senate In Turmoil As Akpabio, Lawan Engage In Heated Disagreement Over Sitting Time

The Nigerian Senate convened an emergency executive session on Thursday following a heated disagreement over the official sitting time of the Red Chamber.

The dispute involved Senate President Godswill Akpabio and his predecessor, Senator Ahmed Lawan.

Nigerian Tribune reports that the disagreement arose during discussions about the scheduling of plenary sessions, leading to a tense exchange between the two leaders.

Meanwhile, according to the Senate’s rules, the official commencement time is 10 am.

However, it has reportedly become routine for sessions to start much later, often around 11am or even later, as lawmakers trickle in late.

Traditionally, the Senate adjourns its sittings for the day with plans to reconvene at 11 am the next legislative day, despite the official start time being 10 am.

On Thursday, the Senate sought to formally amend its rules to shift the official sitting time from 10am to 11am.

The motion was brought forward by Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele.

As the Senate moved to deliberate on the amendment, Lawan opposed the proposal.

He challenged Akpabio, arguing that the reason for changing the sitting time — to synchronise with the House of Representatives — was not convincing or “scientific” enough.

He insisted that there were no substantial reasons to shift the sitting time and highlighted that lawmakers were more energetic in the early hours, making a 10am start more productive.

“The explanation that the change was to enable the Senate to synchronise its sitting time with that of the House of Representatives is not saleable to senators,” Lawan stated.

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He added that pushing the sitting time to 11am would extend the sessions till 3pm, a time when committees should be actively working.

Akpabio responded, reminding Lawan that the 11am practice was inherited from Lawan’s 9th Senate.

Lawan, however, refuted this, stating, “No, that is not correct!” Akpabio also clarified that starting at 11 am did not necessarily mean sessions would last until 3 pm, suggesting they could end by 1 pm instead.

Senator Bamidele intervened, explaining that senators often had multiple engagements, including oversight duties and committee assignments, which sometimes kept them working late into the night, making a 10am resumption challenging.

In a bid to calm the rising tension, Akpabio swiftly called for an executive session to address the issues privately.

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