SENATORS UP IN ARMS AGAINST MARK

By NBF News
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Senators are up in arms against Senate President, David Mark over what they termed 'deliberate exclusion' from participation in the affairs of the country on the floor of the Senate.

Daily Sun gathered at the weekend that some new senators were angry with the Senate president for not recognizing them to contribute to matters in the chamber.

Two former governors and some former members of the House of Representatives were reportedly unhappy that 'despite several efforts to contribute to debate in the chamber, the Senate president just refuses to call us even after we have raised our hands on several occasions.'

Apparently fed up with the situation, a former governor from the North-east took matter into his hands and reportedly walked up to the Senate president to demand the shabby treatment meted on him.

The confrontation happened in the chamber last week, shortly before the Senate embarked on an eight-week recess last Thursday.

The new senator stormed the dais where the Senate president sits to bare his mind on how he (Mark) was unfair to him and that he is 'in the Senate to represent my people and let them hear that I am representing them. How can that happen when I raised my hand and you refused to recognize me? What have I done to you?'

The confrontation reportedly happened again in the Senate president's office after plenary. The senator was pacified by members present including the Senate president, who promised to rectify the situation in future.

Another storm is brewing in the Senate over control and composition of the prestigious Northern Senators Forum (NSF).

The NSF, an influential umbrella body for northern senators, was rendered virtually ineffective in the last Senate.

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In the fifth Senate, under the leadership of the late Senator Idris Ibrahim Kuta, the NSF held annual retreats on problems facing the region and solutions to them were canvassed in collaboration with governors from the zone.

However, no retreat had been held in the last four years.

Chaired by Senator Umaru Dahiru, former chairman of the Judiciary and Human Rights Committee, the NSF was comatose in the last session and was only revived when it came out to endorse Mark as the Senate president in June.

This time around, some young Turks have vowed to revive the NSF and constitute its leadership, away from the influence and control of the Senate leadership.

A former member of the House of Repressentatives in the fifth National Assembly who is now a Senator reportedly told the Senate president that the NSF would 'be different this time around. We will no longer allow anybody to hijack the leadership.

'Whoever is a northerner that does not want to identify with the North should leave the NSF alone. We can no longer sit on the fence where northern matters are concerned.'

Senators were also angry that the Senate president did not announce composition of committees before going on recess till September.

Many senators, who had supported Mark for the Senate presidency and expecting favour in returned through appointment of committee chairmen, were disappointed last Thursday when Mark adjourned plenary without any announcement in that regard.

Some senators were now angry that the quarterly allocation that was supposed to have been forwarded to the accounts of the committees 'is now in abeyance. We had thought that the Senate president would announce the committees so that we can at least be familiar with our respective MDAs, in view of the 2012 budget that would soon be presented after we resume from recess,' said a senator from the North-west at the weekend.