By Nuel Suji
There was a mild drama on the floor of the senate Tuesday as Senators jostling for positions in the 8th National Assembly embarked on intense lobbying for support, even as they disrupted proceedings on the floor of the upper legislative chamber.
Those aspiring for various Senate positions especially the office of the Senate President and their supporters took their campaign to the floor of the upper chamber to the amazement of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
The Deputy Senate President presided over proceedings in the absence of Senate President, David Mark.
Senate office seekers, it was observed were busy dashing from one seat to another in their bid to lobby their colleagues to support them.
The open campaign became almost embarrassing even as clause by clause consideration of the National Tobacco Control Bill was going on.
The consideration of the Bill had to be temporarily suspended for the presiding officer to address the near rowdy session.
Senator Chris Ngige (Anambra Central) who was speaking on the Tobacco Control Bill was the first to raise the alarm, saying he was being distracted by those campaigning for the Office of the Senate President.
Ngige said, “Mr. President, please could you tell all these campaign co-coordinators to allow us treat this Bill. They are disrupting the chamber and we are not allowed to give the Bill the utmost attention it deserves.”
Following Ngige’s observation, Ekweremadu was forced to call those involved to order.
Ekweremadu said, “All campaigns for Senate Presidency are hereby suspended until the end of proceedings, “dear colleagues please take note.”
The Deputy Senate President’s order did not quite help matter as the supporters of the principal actors persisted in their push to gain some mileage against their opponents.
The same scenario was enacted last week during the induction of new Senators and members of the House of Representatives.
Front runners in the race for the office of the Senate President are – Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Account, Senator Ahmed Lawan, Minority Leader, Senator George Akume and Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Bukola Saraki.
Observers said the open campaigns in the Senate chamber has introduced some element of desperation by aspirants.