Senate Denies Seating Arrangement Chaos Allegations During Resumption

By Joke Kujenya

CHAOS reportedly erupted in the Senate chamber as senators returned from their Easter and Sallah break on Tuesday, April 30.

The plenary session, which commenced at approximately 11.00am, was immediately fraught with tension as lawmakers engaged in a heated dispute over seating arrangements.

Senate President, Godswill Akpabio initiated proceedings upon his arrival and seating. Following the customary prayers, Akpabio proceeded to announce the names of senators who had celebrated birthdays during the recess period.

However, tensions escalated when Senator Sahabi Ya’u of the All Progressive Party (APC) representing Zaria North began to raise his voice against Senate Leader Opeyemi Bamidele, who reciprocated by pointing a finger at Ya’u in what appeared to be a stern warning.

The dispute quickly escalated as Senator Danjuma Goje from Gombe Central joined Ya’u in shouting at Bamidele and Senator Sunday Karimi, the chairman of the Senate Service Committee responsible for seating arrangements.

The crux of the conflict appeared to have stemmed from the new seating set-up implemented in the chamber following its renovation. Several ranking senators expressed discontentment with their allocated seats, particularly those situated in the front row on the last side of the aisle.

Efforts by the Senate President to quell the commotion were met with resistance, notably from Senator Ya’u, who declined to comply with the directive to approach their chair individually.

The tumultuous scene persisted for approximately 20 minutes before order was partially restored. Following Akpabio’s welcome back speech, Bamidele moved for the Senate to convene into a closed-door session.

The executive session, which began approximately 12.05pm, aimed to address the underlying issues and restore decorum to the chamber, as the incident reportedly occurred amidst a series of delays in the Senate’s resumption, originally scheduled for April 16, but got postponed twice to accommodate the completion of the chamber’s renovation, ongoing since 2022.  

It’s Not True – Senate

HOWEVER, the Nigerian Senate has described recent rumours circulating on various online platforms regarding alleged disagreements and discord over seating arrangements within the Senate chamber.

According to the Senate Committee Chairman on Media and Publicity, Yemi Adaramodu, these rumours are categorically false and have been fabricated by individuals seeking to sow seeds of discord.

In a statement issued by Adaramodu, it was clarified that there were no basis for the purported disagreements or verbal altercations regarding seating arrangements during the Senate’s recent session.

Adaramodu emphasized that the seating positions within the Senate chamber were determined in adherence to established legislative protocols, taking into account the rankings of senators and leadership positions.

He also noted the global legislative tradition wherein seating arrangements are allocated based on seniority and leadership roles, a practice consistently observed by legislators worldwide, stressing that the recent seating arrangements in the newly renovated chamber were no exception to this tradition, and therefore, there was no confusion or contention over the seating allocations.

Adaramodu therefore denounced the spread of false information, describing it as an attempt to thrash the image of the Senate and generate unnecessary controversy, urging the general public to disregard these unfounded rumours and refrain from being misled by those intent on disseminating falsehoods.

The Senate, Adaramodu stressed, affirmed its commitment to upholding established legislative protocols and maintaining decorum within the chamber, while condemning attempts to undermine its integrity through the propagation of baseless rumours.

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