I have read with keen interest and digested the arguments canvassed on the above issue by my learned senior, Sanusi Musa. After a brief but concise analysis of Sections 50, 54, 143 and 188 of the Constitution and observing that the word “all” is absent in Section 50, Mr. Sanusi Musa submitted that the intendment of the framers of the Constitution is that 2/3 majority of the quorum stipulated by the Constitution can remove the President of the Senate. The constitutional quorum is 37 whose two-thirds is 25 when approximated to the nearest whole.

Let me begin by making it bold to say Sanusi Musa is a fine lawyer in every sense of the expression. He is especially adept in the Constitution as it relates to the National Assembly. I must confess that I have massively learnt from my exchanges on legal matters with him which take place virtually day we meet or were on phone. However, I humbly beg to differ with his submission on this matter. I do not intend to go into his analysis of Section 50 and other relevant sections. This is because another learned senior of mine, Musa Adamu Aliyu, has done enough justice do that and entirely agree with his reasoning. Refer to their Facebook accounts.

I intend to do only one thing here today. It is to highlight the fact that my learned senior, Sanusi Musa, reviewed the relevant laws in total isolation of the facts of the matter at hand. His heading and introduction indicate clearly that he was writing with reference to the current legal and political limbo raging in Abuja on the law and politics of the continued occupation of Senator Bokola Saraki of the stool of the President of the Senate. But he didn’t touch on the facts of the matter even superficially.

It is axiomatic that laws do not apply in a vacuum. They apply to a given scenario. It is the facts that dictates whether and how the law applies. Emphasizing this elementary principle in the case of Rajco Int’l Ltd v. Le Cavalier Motels and Restaurants Ltd. & Ors (2016) LPELR-40082 (CA), the Court of Appeal held “A Court of law, it is said, acts on facts and not on guess on speculation.” The same position has been earlier judicially blessed by the Supreme Court in several cases, including George v. UBA (1972) 8 – 9, SC, 4 and Seismographic Ltd v. Ogbeni (1976) 4 SC, 84. In fact, the sacred duty of the court is to interpret and apply the law to the facts and nothing more. This is the ritual courts go through in every case they deal with especially in common jurisdictions like Nigeria.

In the case at hand, it is beyond doubt that members of the Senate are almost evenly divided between those who support Saraki and those who oppose him. It was reported by major news papers the other day that about 50 of the 107 or so Senators in chambers have signed a document supporting Saraki to continue. The 1 million dollar question here is: How can 25 Senators remove a principal officer support by 50 others? Is 25 greater than 50? This maths can only be valid in the PDP era world where 16 was greater than 19. According to the Jonathan presidency, Jona Jang polled 16 votes to defeat Rotimi Amaechi who got 19 votes in the Nigerian Governors Forum election held in 2013.

What is more, Mr. Sanusi Musa’s proposition is entirely predicated on the assumption or hypothesis that only 37 which is the medium required by the Constitution will attended the sitting in question. This is an utter impossibility. In this politically turbulent times, there is no way a meeting of the Senate validly summoned would register only 37 attendees. The only situation in which this could be expected to happen is if pro-Saraki Senators were excluded from the sitting or the sitting in a hotel known only to some as speculated in some quarters. If the meeting is not validly summoned with regards to the convener, notice or right of attendance or venue, then anything transacted there will be an exercise in fiasco. Any purported resolution wouldn’t worth the paper on which it was written nor the pen. The decision of the Supreme Court in Longe v. First Bank of Nigeria PLC (2010) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1189) 1 SC may provide some light here.

The adage “the text without context is pretext” is perhaps relevant to law more than any other endeavour. As I mentioned earlier, my learned senior treated the law in complete regard to the facts at hand. While I am more inclined to the arguments canvassed by Musa Adamu Aliyu, even if we assume Mr. Sanusi Musa’s reasoning is more in line with the correct position of the law on the issue, that position will certainly not apply to Saraki’s case as it is at the moment. I am pretty sure my learned would have arrived at a different conclusion had he kept in mind, during his analysis, the facts of the matter. The facts may however evolve in the future and so will the applicability of the law.

Audu Bulama Bukarti


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