From 1999 to date, Nigeria has had seven Senate presidents starting with Chief Evan Enwerem who emerged the number 3 citizen on June 17, 1999. Dr Chuba Okadigbo later took over from Enwerem and manned the office until August 2000.
From August 2000 till June 2003, Anyim Pius Anyim occupied the number one lawmaker’s seat in the country. Between 2003 to 2007, the duo of Adolphus Wabara (July 2003 - April 2005) and Ken Nnamani (April 2005-June 2007) reigned.
In June 2007, Senator David Mark emerged as Senate President and reigned for eight years. Aside from being the longest-serving Senate President, he has been in the Senate since 1999, representing Benue South senatorial district.
Mark was succeeded by Senator Bukola Saraki who emerged on June 9, 2015. Since his emergence, Sarakihas had a turbulent reign as the number 3 citizen of the country. His then party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), wanted someone else to occupy the seat but Saraki outsmarted the party by conniving with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s senators to clinch the coveted position.
He was subsequently charged with a corruption case bordering on alleged false assets declaration while he was Kwara state governor, a move alleged to be orchestrated as part of the APC’s internal fight. Saraki eventually won the case and it seemed his position as the Senate president had no more threats until he eventually defected to the PDP.
Since his defection, the ruling party has been on his case telling him to either resign his position honourably or be forced to do so.
If Saraki decides to resign voluntarily, he might be setting a new record in the history of democracy in Nigeria. But if he refuses and eventually gets impeached, he will just be joining the ranks of two other former Senate presidents who were impeached during the administration of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
1. Chief Evan Enwerem
Nigeria’s first Senate president in the Fourth Republic, Chief Evan Enwerem from Imo East senatorial district, emerged the number 3 citizen on June 3, 1999.
Enwerem beat his chief rival, Senator Chuba Okadigbo, for the Senate presidency. Former president Olusegun Obasanjo reportedly backed Enwerem for the position against Okadigbo. With the support of Obasanjo's allies in the Senate, Enwerem defeated Okadigbo with 66 votes to Okadigbo's 43 votes.
However, Enwerem did not hold the post for very long. Shortly after his assumption of office, a Senate committee was set up to investigate Enwerem for allegations of corruption. The allegations against Enwerem alleged that he falsified his name, and caused a controversy as to whether Enwerem's actual real name was Evan or Evans. He was eventually removed from office on November 18, 1999, in an ouster spearheaded by allies of Chuba Okadigbo.
2. Dr Chuba Okadigbo
Dr Chuba Okadigbo, representing Anambra, replaced Enwerem as the Senate president in 1999 and occupied the office until August 2000. Okadigbo’s emergence as the number three citizen was without Obasanjo’s blessing.
Accusing the ex-president of plotting to impeach him, Okadigbo in a desperate move to prevent his ouster, snatched the mace an took it to his house.
Policemen were sent to Okadigbo's residence in Abuja to retrieve the mace. It was said that the police officers told Okadigbo their mission but he wouldn't release the mace to them.
He told BBC at the time: “The police arrived at 5.55 a.m. (0455 GMT) in six jeeps fully loaded with armed officers.
“They told me they had come to collect the mace and that they were acting on orders from the inspector general of police. I said I would never give them the mace. I have to be dead before you get the mace, I told them. This is executive lawlessness and is unprecedented in Nigeria’s history.”
However, Okadigbo didn't win the battle as he was impeached later in 2000. He was charged with corruption and impeached, officially demoting him from Senate president to a senator.
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Meanwhile, in an earlier report, NAIJ.com gathered that some senators belonging to the APC had called for the immediate resignation of Saraki after he quit the ruling party.
The senators told Daily Trust that they will push for Saraki’s resignation, in response to the Senate president's exit from the party.
Nigeria Latest News: Here's What Saraki and Tambuwal's Defection Means for the APC | NAIJ.com TV