$22.796b Loan: Senators Grumble About ‘Rubber Stamp’ Tag On Senate
The drama which played out on the floor of the Senate on Thursday, was a confirmation of an uneasy calm among senators in the federal parliament, investigations by Saturday PUNCH revealed on Friday.
The red chamber had on Thursday, in controversial circumstances, considered and approved the report of its committee on local and foreign loans which worked on the request by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to borrow $22.796bn.
Findings by Saturday PUNCH among members of the red chamber showed that many of the senators had been complaining about the alleged ‘rubber stamp’ nature of the chamber which the leadership remained resolute to maintain and sustain.
A senator from the South-South geopolitical zone of the country, who pleaded anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue, said on Friday that the trouble started when the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, announced that the foreign loan request would be approved.
The senator said Lawan had made up his mind to work towards the loan approval, even when the committee had yet to start work on it.
He said, “It was the public declaration of the Senate President that made many of us to show apathy towards the debate on it, but we were prepared to make our position known before the final approval, which was done through the minority leader on Thursday.”
Another senator from the North-East geopolitical zone, who also craved anonymity, told Saturday PUNCH that the insistence by the Senate President that the Senate under his watch would always approve any request from the Presidency was generating cold war among his colleagues.
“Many of us are no longer comfortable with the people’s perception of the Senate as an annex of the Presidential Villa. The President of the Senate had said that his election was made possible by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress and the governors elected on the party’s platform.
“Also recently, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, also said his victory at the senate presidency election was made possible by President Muhammadu Buhari and the embattled Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole.