Senate in Emergency Session as Akpabio, Lawan Clash Over Sitting

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The Senate went into an emergency executive session on Thursday after 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, over the timing of plenary sessions.

According to Senate rules, sessions officially commence at 10 am, but it has become routine for sessions to start later, often around 11 am or even later, as lawmakers arrive late. The Senate sought to formally amend its rules to shift the official sitting time from 10 am to 11 am, with Senate Leader Opeyemi Bamidele bringing forward the motion.

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However, Lawan opposed the proposal, challenging Akpabio and arguing that the reason for changing the sitting time – to synchronize with the House of Representatives – was not convincing or “scientific” enough.

He stated, “The explanation that the change was to enable the Senate to synchronize its sitting time with that of the House of Representatives is not saleable to senators.” Lawan also argued that starting at 11 am would extend sessions till 3 pm, a time when committees should be actively working.

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

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

To calm the rising tension, Akpabio called for an executive session to address the issues privately. The Senate went into a closed-door session to resolve the matter.

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