Early Tuesday morning, the Electoral Commission released the screening results of the executive aspirants. This three-page document brought surprises, one of which was the disqualification of the Financial Secretary aspirant, Sen Yeshua Adedeji. She was disqualified on two grounds;
1.) Failure to meet the Eligibility Criteria as stated in the constitution (Chapter 3, Article VIIIa, Number 2: Other executive Offices except the SDO Preclinical MUST have served in at least a standing committee of the association relevant to the office being vied for, at least one tenure.)
2.) Failure to meet the pass score of 50%
Although this brought some stir it seemed to not be a big issue till there was an announcement of a Senate emergency meeting as a result of a petition signed by over 1/3rd of the Senate on this particular matter. The petition claimed that Sen Adedeji had been wrongfully disqualified; requesting proof that she had been removed from the association’s project committee and that passing a score of 50% was stated in the electoral guidelines.
The meeting was convened on Thursday, 28 April by 8:06 pm. At the start of the meeting, the Senate Chair, Sen Eriobuna stated that scrutinizing the second criteria was not within the scope of the senate, as the Electoral Commission is an independent body. Sen Adedeji was allowed to speak to the house; she believes that the Senate should debate her membership in the Projects committee of the just concluded tenure. Thereafter, the Electoral Commission Chair, Ms Onietan Ibukun stated that during the interview Sen Adedeji accepted that she had not served in the Projects Committee, which was confirmed by the Financial Secretary, Sen Agozie. The final speech before the debate commenced was by the Financial Secretary who explained that Sen Adedeji had not been an active member of the committee, hence her removal in November. He spoke about how she had only attended two out of five meetings, took only one order, skipped market days and delivered a proposal 6 days late.
The debate began with Sen Joshua stating that the topic of discussion was not constitutional making the meeting unnecessary, thereby setting a bad precedence. Sen Obeya, Sen Oniyide, Sen Omotunde and Sen Babalola pined that with the evidence presented Sen Adedeji had not served the committee, hence claiming otherwise would be wrong. They supported their statements with various examples ranging from the Senate to other committees. Sen Amaji encouraged the Senate to refer her to the Senate Disciplinary Committee for not being active on the committee. Sen Raheem, however, spoke that she should be deemed to have served since the necessary bye-laws were not set up by the committee.
A procedural motion was moved by Sen Babalola that voting be done by secret ballot. Three motions were presented as a way forward, however, Sen Amaji withdrew his motion that she be deemed to not have served and be fined. Hence, the two motions that were voted upon were;
1.) Sen. Adedeji is deemed not to have served on the Projects committee
2.) Sen. Adedeji is deemed to have served on the Projects committee
The first motion won, with only six votes for the second. While discussing other business, Sen Oniyide encouraged senators to review their values and not move dishonest motions.
Sen Raheem then brought to question the eligibility of other aspirants. Sen Babalola pointed out that a previous Senate resolution covers the eligibility of the Public Relations Officer being only a member of the publicity committee. Sen Adesola thereafter stated that the other aspirants were members of the required committees. The Senate Chair discouraged the review of the electoral process as that is not within the powers of the senate referring to Chapter 5, Article XIX, Number 4a.
Sen Raheem motioned that the Financial Secretary be fined for removing Sen Adedeji illegally. The motion however died a natural death with no seconder. In concluding the meeting, the Senate Chair encouraged Senators to only call Emergency Meetings for emergencies. Sen Babalola, seconded by Sen Adesola, adjourned the meeting.
The Senate body hopes that this would be their last meeting in this tenure as they have long past their number of planned meetings.