The Senate is the upper chamber of Nigeria’s bicameral legislature, known as the National Assembly of Nigeria. The Senate is made up of three Senators from each State and one from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to a total of 109 senators.
The National assembly, being the highest body have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation. The Constitution has made the senate supreme to the extent that where any Law enacted by the House of Assembly of a State is inconsistent with any law validly made by the National Assembly, the law made by the National Assembly shall prevail, and that other Law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
However, the Senate President is the presiding officer of the Senate, whose duty is to direct, organize and regulate the proceedings in the senate. The Senate President is usually chosen by the members of that House from among themselves.
FUNCTIONS OF THE SENATE PRESIDENT
Presiding over the business of the senate:
The Senate President as an active role to chair and lead the sittings of the senate whether any sitting or a joint sitting. The president has the duty to moderate and conduct the activities of the senate. The senate gives rulings when it comes to decision making by giving the results, interprets the standing order of the senate, calls on senators to speak and generally maintains orderliness and decorum in the senate. It is also the responsibility of the president to see that the powers and privileges of the Senate, as provided by the Constitution, are observed.
The President of the Senate has important departmental administrative responsibilities in relation to the Senate being the executive head of that department. The President also heads the Standing Committee on Appropriations and Staffing, which determines the annual budget and oversees the organizational structure for the Senate.
The President is also concerned with senators’ accommodation at Parliament House, seating arrangements, entitlements of senators and the general operations of the Senate department.
Representational and Ceremonial Functions
The senate president has the responsibility to participate in the opening of sittings. The President also represents the Parliament at international conferences and leads some parliamentary delegations to other nations. The President receives parliamentary delegations visiting and other distinguished visitors to the Senate.
POWER OF THE SENATE PRESIDENT
Appointment and Nominations:
The constitution has given the president the power to appoint and nominate some certain officials in Nigeria. The power to appoint certain government officials are most times vested on the President. The senate has power over public funds which will be headed by the President and most of the personnel that will be appointed to be in this area must be selected on a recommendation made by the senate president.
The senate president have been vested with the power to chair all impeachment processes against a government official by the Constitution. Thus, whenever a notice of any allegation in writing signed by not less than one third of the members of the Senate is made against any government official, this notice must be presented to the senate president.
Legislative power to head money bill
The Senate President have been given the power to convene and arrange meetings of the joint finance committee to examine the money bill with a view to resolving differences between the two Houses. However, money bill includes appropriation bill or a supplementary appropriation bill involving bill for the payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Finally, the constitution has it enshrined that a Senate President shall vacate his office if he ceases to be a member of the senate by reason of dissolution of the senate or he is removed from office by a resolution of the senate.