Whose authority is it to create Senate standing rules? That is the big question being asked as controversy over the Senate Standing Rules 2015 resurfaced over a petition written by a group of senators called Unity Forum. The petition led to the questioning of current Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu; former Senate President and current Senator, David Mark; former Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business by the office of the Deputy Inspector General of the Police.
The petition that led to the Police investigation was signed by Secretary of the Unity Forum, Suleman Othman Hunkuyi, and dispatched to the Clerk of the National Assembly two days after the inauguration of the Senate. The group sent the same petition to the Inspector General of Police on the 30th of June, 2015.
The petition: “We write to bring to your attention, the existence of the fraudulent introduction of a 2015 Senate Standing Rules, as amended. We wish to attach the original and authentic Standing Order for 2011 that was used by the 7th Senate, Annexure A. We again annex herewith a purported amended Standing Orders 2015, which was used by the Clerk to the National Assembly (along with the Clerk of the Senate) in inaugurating the 8th Senate on June 9, 2015, Annexure B.”
The petition further read: “The so called new Standing Orders purports to allow for secret instead of the open ballot system that has been prevalent in all Senate elections as permitted by the extant rules.”
In the group’s opinion, it was an infraction considered fraudulent and so the group disapproved of its usage. The petition further went thus: “This infraction, among others arises from the fraudulent production of the Rules without an approved consideration by the 7th Senate. At no time was the Standing Orders of the Senate amended during the entire life of the 7th Senate neither has the 8th Senate sat for long enough to produce the rules now being circulated and in use.”
Appealing for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators, the petition asked: “We therefore appeal that you use your good offices to investigate and bring to justice all persons who may have been responsible for this fraud which has led to the undue political crises and abnormalities in the politics. While you carry out your job in sanitizing the system, please, be assured of our esteemed regards.”