So much has happened in the country since President Muhammadu Buhari departed Nigeria 80-days ago for medical vacation in London.
A lot has happened at the National Assembly within this period.
Pulse brings you a timeline of activities that has happened at both the Senate and House of Representatives 80 days since President Buhari left for London.
1.Saraki’s acquittal at CCT
After prolong trials for false asset declaration, Senate President Bukola Saraki was discharged and acquitted at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). Saraki’s victory was sequel to a no-case-submission by his lawyers.
In a ruling on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, CCT chairman, Umar Danladi said the prosecution failed to prove the case of false asset declaration against Saraki.
Umar dismissed all 13-count charge against Saraki.
Saraki’s victory at the CCT, however, did not go down well with Prof Itse Sagay, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption who described the victory as a shock.
Sagay said the federal government would appeal Saraki’s acquittal, a move the Senate President described as an exercise in futility.
2. Dino Melaye’s recall
While President Buhari was away, Senator Dino Melaye’s constituents kicked-off the process to recall the outspoken lawmaker from the red chamber.
Melaye accused the Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello for ‘sponsoring’ his recall.
Signatures were collated and submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters in Abuja by his constituents.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu while speaking at plenary also described the recall process as a waste of time. A view which was further expressed by the Senate President.
INEC also released a timetable for Melaye’s recall.
For Melaye to be recalled, the constituents also have to convince the lawmakers that the Kogi West Senator has failed to represent his constituency.
For this set of lawmakers in the upper legislative chamber, it may be difficult to sell this idea to them.
Melaye got court injunction to stop INEC from continuing the process for his recall.
3. Plot to impeach Osinbajo
Before President Buhari left Nigeria, he met with leaders of both chambers of the National Assembly – Saraki and Dogara – to intimate them of his planned trip.
Since Buhari’s departure, the National Assembly has feigned ignorance to several calls for Buhari’s impeachment until Acting President left Nigeria for Ethiopia for the 29th Ordinary Session of the African Union.
Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe moved at plenary on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, that Saraki should take over as acting president since Osinbajo and Buhari were away from the country.
“I simply want to bring to the attention of this chamber and all Nigerians and to ask the question. The acting president is the person who is at the head of government now, but we have a serious problem in Nigeria today. We have nobody in Nigeria who is at the head of the government,” Abaribe said.
He added that; “The law and the procedure and all the laws in Nigeria states that you cannot have a vacuum. Today, the acting president is outside the country and so there is a vacuum.”
Citing Order 54 (4) of the Senate Standing Rules, Senator Kabiru Marafa said; “The constitution is very clear, if the president is out of the country, the constitution is clear as to who is the head of government. If the acting president is out of the country, the senate president is the next in the line of succession,” he added.
Marafa cautioned lawmakers from ‘playing on the intelligence of Nigerians with such inciting comments’.
Saraki then ruled Abaribe out of order haven brought the motion ‘at the wrong time.’
4. 8 RECs confirmed
The Senate confirmed the appointment of eight of the 12 remaining Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday, July 20, 2017.
The Senate Committee on INEC had presented its reports on the nominees at plenary on Wednesday.
The commissioners that were confirmed at plenary on Thursday are: Asmau Sani Maikudi (Katsina), Sam Olugbadebo Olumekun (Ondo), Mahmuda Isah (Kebbi), Riskuwa Shehu (Sokoto), Kasim Gana Geidam (Yobe), Jibrin Ibrahim Zarewa (Kano), Abdulganiyu Olayinka Raji (Oyo) and Samuel Egwu (Kogi).
5. NFIU Bill
Following Nigeria’s suspension from the EGMONT Group, the Senate moved to separate the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The bill for the establishment of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency scaled second reading on Tuesday, July 25, 2017.
6. Hembe’s Sack
Within the last 80 days of Buhari’s absence, the Supreme Court sacked a certain Herman Hembe, the lawmaker representing Vandekiya/Konshisha federal constituency of Benue state.
Hembe was also ordered to return all salaries and allowances received by him within this period.
The court also ordered that Dorathy Mato be sworn in as Hembe’s replacement.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara has however failed to obey this order as against Hembe who many refer to as ‘his boy’.
7. Passage of the Whistleblowers Bill
The Senate on Thursday, July 20, 2017 passed the Whistleblowers bill which seeks to facilitate and encourage the disclosure of improper conduct by persons, public officers and corporate bodies, private and public.The bill would ensure that matters disclosed were properly investigated and handled appropriately in accordance with the law.
It would further ensure adequate protection of whistle blowers from reprisals, victimisation, isolation and humiliation, which were some of the consequences of whistle-blowing.
8. Peace Corps Bill
The Senate on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, also passed into law the bill seeking to establish Peace Corps as a para-military organization in Nigeria.
fter the Presidential accent, the Peace Corps of Nigeria is expected create job for Nigeria’s unemployed youths.
9. Saraki’s Recall
Just like Melaye, Saraki’s constituents indicated plans to recall him. This was disclosed by a certain Kwara Must Change group is spear-heading this move.
Saraki, however, seems unfazed about this move.