In what appeared an about turn, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, yesterday tendered an unreserved apology to the Senate for alleged “offensive” comments against the upper chamber.
Senator Omo-Agege in a subdued voice owned up that he over shot his bounds by claiming at a media briefing that the amended Electoral Act which reordered election sequence in the country was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senate on Tuesday referred the matter to its committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for investigation following the adoption of a motion by Senator Dino Melaye on the matter.
Melaye prayed the Senate to refer the matter to the committee for investigation claiming that Omo-Agege’s comments impinged onthe integrity of the Senate.
The Kogi West senator also said that Omo-Agege misled and incited Nigerians against the Senate by making unsubstantiated comments on reordered of election sequence.
Omo-Agege said,” Yesterday (Tuesday), I was not here (Senate chamber). My colleague and my brother, Senator Dino Melaye brought a motion under Privileges which is in Order14 & 15 of the Senate Standing Rules.
“Mr. President, I rose as a consequent on the debate on the sequence of elections in the Electoral Act amendment which was passed last week Wednesday.
“In the course of that debate and subsequent upon that, I addressed the media at he Press Centre.
“I made certain remarks during that interview which my attention has been drawn to. The comments are offensive, not just to Senator Dino Melaye, but to the entire Senate.
“I rise to apologise to the leadership and the entire Senate for those remarks. I take back whatever I said. Thank you Mr. President.”
Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the plenary commended Omo-Agege for being courageous to apologise for what he said.
Ekweremadu said, “He came under Order 53. In my view, it takes a lot of courage to do this. It takes a lot of courage to say I am sorry.
“The matter has already been referred to the committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions. I urge the committee to quickly look into it so that we can have the report as quickly as possible. Then we will take a decision. Is that the wish of the Senate?”
The Senators yelled “yes” as Ekweremadu promptly hit the gavel.
An insider said that Omo-Agege acted promptly to apologise “because he risked indefinite suspension after appearing at the Ethics committee.”
According to the insider, “Omo-Agege knew that he has shot himself on the foot. He knew that his case is a done deal. Whether his apology will be enough to mitigate his punishment for willfully impinging on the integrity of the Senate is what I cannot tell you at this point in time. You just wait and see.”
Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi told reporters that immunity on the floor of the Senate does not cover lies.
Abdullahi said that senators who addressed reporters after the adoption of the conference report on reordering of election sequence peddled falsehood.
He noted that the Senate did not believe in witch hunting any body “but today one of our colleagues rising under Order 43 owned up that his misfired.”
Abdullahi added,”If anybody feels strongly about any issue, there are procedures and processes to go about it but let your personal interest not hinder or impinge on the collective interest of the Senate.”