Senate in emergency executive session after Akpabio and former Lawan clashed

The Senate convened an emergency executive session on Thursday, July 11, following a heated disagreement regarding the official sitting time of the Red Chamber, according to The Nigerian Tribune.

The contention arose between Senate President Godswill Akpabio and his predecessor, Senator Ahmed Lawan, over the timing of plenary sessions. While Senate rules stipulate a 10 am start, sessions have routinely commenced around 11 am or later due to lawmakers arriving late.

Traditionally, the Senate adjourns with plans to reconvene at 11 am the next legislative day, despite the official start time being 10 am. On Thursday, a motion to amend the rules to officially shift the start time from 10 am to 11 am was brought forward by Senate Leader Opeyemi Bamidele.

During the deliberation, Lawan opposed the proposal, arguing that the justification for synchronizing the Senate’s start time with the House of Representatives was unconvincing. He insisted that lawmakers were more productive in the early hours, making a 10 am start preferable.

“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. He also noted that an 11 am start would extend sessions until 3 pm, a time when committee work should be underway.

Akpabio responded by reminding Lawan that the 11 am practice was inherited from Lawan’s 9th Senate. Lawan refuted this, asserting, “No, that is not correct!” Akpabio further clarified that starting at 11 am did not necessarily mean sessions would last until 3 pm, suggesting they could conclude 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 10 am resumption challenging.

To address the rising tension, Akpabio promptly called for an executive session to resolve the issues privately.