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Yar'Adua tears Senators, Representatives apart

By Daily Champion

Tension heightened yesterday in the National Assembly as the two chambers failed to agree on a common venue to receive President Umaru Yar'Adua, who is billed to present the 2010 budget to the lawmakers today.

This appears to be the climax of the seemingly unending frosty relationship between the two chambers.

However, there were fears that this may force the President to rescind his decision to address a joint session of the National Assembly.

President Yar'Adua had in a letter to the Senate President, David Mark which was read on the floor of the Senate last Tuesday, requested the permission of the upper chamber to allow him address a joint session of the National Assembly.

Though the request was granted, but the two chambers in their separate reactions yesterday however failed to agree on a common venue for the meeting.

The request is in line with section 81 which requires the President to cause the annual estimate to be laid before the National Assembly.

This was a curious dimension to the perceived muscle flexing between the two chambers.

Trouble started yesterday when the Senate resolved to receive the president in its chamber, and not in the House as has been the tradition of the present National Assembly in the last ten years.

Even with less than 300 seats, the Senate insisted that the President can only address the joint session on the floor of the senate.

But the House in a reaction that suggested that the subtle war between the two chambers was not yet over, said it may not attend the session in the senate. This position, could pose a threat to the 2010 budget.

Spokesman of the House, Hon. Esieme Eyibo told reporters yesterday that the decision by the Senate to receive the President in its chamber was a radical shift from the old tradition.

He said the House expects the President to address the joint session of the two chambers on the 'green carpet,' in keeping with the old practice.

He said the Senate chamber with less than 200 seats would not be convenient for the House members.