The Senate chamber was in an uproar on Wednesday when senators of the All Progressives Party and those of the Peoples Democratic Party disagreed on the payment of N5,000 stipend to each jobless Nigerian. A Peoples Democratic Party senator representing the Federal Capital Territory, Philip Aduda, had raised a prayer urging the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to fulfil one of its campaign promises of paying N5,000 to unemployed youths monthly nationwide.
Aduda said this prayer was raised in order to cushion the effect of economic hardship on the unemployed in the country.
Before Aduda raised the prayer, a PDP senator from Cross River-East senatorial district, Bassey Akpan, had sponsored a motion titled, “Urgent need to curb the soaring rate of unemployment in Nigeria.”
While contributing to the motion sponsored by Akpan, the senator from Osun-East senatorial district, Babajide Omoworare, demanded the probe of the way the Goodluck Jonathan administration handled the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme, among other poverty alleviation programmes.
Aduda, who is the senate minority whip said, “The Federal Government should immediately commence the payment of the N5,000 monthly stipend it promised during the pre-election campaign.”
The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, seconded Aduda’s additional prayer.
But Omoworare immediately raised the Senate Standing Order 53(6) to oppose the additional prayer.
This led to a sharp disagreement between the senators of the ruling APC and those of the opposition PDP.
The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, however, intervened after about 22 minutes by bringing the rancorous session to an end.
He first asked Aduda to repeat his additional prayer, which the lawmaker did.
However, when Saraki put the additional prayer to voice vote, the ayes obviously had the loudest voice – in support of the payment of the stipend but the Senate President banged his gavel in support of the nay voice vote coming from the APC senators.
Saraki, thereafter, gave Omoworare the privilege of raising another additional prayer.
The Osun senator said, “I want to move that the immediate past government be made to account for every penny spent on SURE-P and other poverty alleviation programmes, and I so move, Mr. President.”
When Saraki put the question to voice vote, the ayes response came from the APC senators, but the PDP senators kept quiet.