Borno South Senator, Ali Ndume, on Tuesday described the 8th Senate as the worst he had seen in terms of attendance at plenary.
Speaking as special guest on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, Mr Ndume blamed the situation on “bad leadership’’ in the upper legislative chamber.
Legislative activities in the National Assembly have been at a low ebb since the different political parties held their primaries in October.
This is so, according to political watchers, because many of the lawmakers failed to secure their parties’ tickets either for re-election or for other public offices.
Since resumption from the extended annual recess on October 9, the Senate has adjourned plenary twice: first for two weeks on October 24 to pave way for “oversight duties”.
On November 13, the senators adjourned plenary for one week after failing to form quorum, a situation they blamed on continuation of oversight duties by most of the absentees.
The tempo is expected to take a further dip with the commencement of the campaigns ahead of the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections billed for February.
However, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, assured Nigerians on Monday that the campaigns would not affect the passage of bills and other legislative duties in the Assembly.
In a statement his Special Assistant on Print Media, Chuks Okocha, in Abuja, Mr Saraki said the lawmakers were concerned and would through on the key bills.
Mr Ndume said although it was normal for attendance to drop during election periods, it had never been that bad since he joined the National Assembly as a House of Representatives member in 2003.
“The 8th Senate is the worst I have seen in terms of attendance, and it is because of the bad leadership of Saraki.
“This is the first time we had to adjourn the Senate for lack of quorum.
“Since I came to the National Assembly, two terms in the House of Representatives, and two terms now in the Senate, it had never been like this.
“So, I was shocked that day (November 13). I came a bit late, and when I entered the chambers, I was told we had adjourned because there was no quorum, and that only 14 people or thereabout turned up.
“It’s just terrible,’’ lamented the All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker, who is seeking a third term in the Senate.