By: Olusegun Lawrence Indication emerged last night on why Senate President David Mark, ruled 11 defecting Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators who read out their defection letter at plenary on Tuesday out of order.
Bukola Saraki had raised a point of order and in the process read out the letter earlier submitted to the Senate President announcing their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
But, Mark promptly ruled Saraki out of order saying the issue of defection would not be entertained until when the case pending in court is resolved.
He referred him to Order 53(5) which reads: “Reference shall not be made to any matter on which a judicial decision is pending, in such a way as might in the opinion of the President of the Senate prejudice the interest of the parties thereto.”
He further told Saraki: “It cannot be a matter of privilege to you because the matter is in court and no mention should be made of it. Therefore, I rule you out of order.”
Prior to the commencement of the plenary, the Senate had gone into closed doors session which lasted for about 20 minutes.
Prompt News gathered that the issue of the defection letter was discussed but Mark, advised that the senators concerned should withdraw the case in court so that he could read their letter on the floor.
He was therefore, not happy that his advice was jettisoned in favour of the senators idea of finding another means of getting their letter mentioned on the floor.
The 11 senators, it was learnt however decided not to take the Senate President’s advice, saying that after withdrawing the case he could come up with another “joker” to stop them.
Hence, they decided to go ahead to read the letter on the floor not minding whether it would be accepted or not.
“It does not matter whether the Senate President read the letter or not. What is important is that we are no longer PDP senators and we have informed our colleagues on the floor today (Tuesday), one of the senators told our correspondent.
The 11 senators had gone to an Abuja Federal High Court to restrict the Senate President from declaring their seats vacant.
Speaking after the plenary, Senate Minority Leader George Akume, frowned at Mark’s refusal to read their letter, saying it’s a breach of their rights.
According to him, “it is wrong for him to comment on a matter that was before a competent court of law”.
But his colleague who speaks for the Senate, Eyinnaya Abaribe, insisted Mark was right as the rules guiding the Senate must be observed.
“The senate has rules and these senators are aware of the rules. The Senate President has not done anything special; he is only playing by the rules of the Senate.”