The Senate has officially changed its plenary sitting time from 10am to 11am, following a motion moved by Senate Leader Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele. This adjustment, made pursuant to Order 109 of the Senate Standing Orders, was discussed and agreed upon during an executive session presided over by Senate President Sen. Godswill Akpabio.

Historically, the official commencement time for Senate plenary sessions has been 10am, as per the Senate’s rules. However, it has been challenging for sessions to start at this time, with lawmakers often arriving at the chamber around 11am or later. Consequently, the Senate has frequently announced reconvening times of 11am, despite the official time being 10am.

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On Thursday, the Senate decided to formalize this practice, changing the official commencement time for plenary sessions to 11am, with sessions lasting until 3pm. This change aimed to align the Senate’s sitting time with the House of Representatives and accommodate the senators’ schedules more effectively.

The decision to adjust the sitting time was not without contention. Shortly before the executive session, Senate President Akpabio and his predecessor, Sen. Ahmed Lawan, engaged in a disagreement over the proposal.

Lawan opposed the change, arguing that the justification of synchronizing with the House of Representatives was insufficient and not “scientific” enough. He suggested that lawmakers have more energy in the early hours, and the adjustment could interfere with committee meetings scheduled for the afternoon.

In response, Akpabio attempted to remind Lawan that the practice of starting at 11am was inherited from the 9th Senate. Lawan disputed this claim, asserting that starting at 10am was preferable.

Sen. Bamidele intervened, highlighting that senators often had multiple engagements, including oversight duties and committee assignments, which sometimes extended late into the night. This made resumption at 10am challenging. To ease the rising tension, Akpabio called for an executive session.

After the closed-door debate, the Senate reconvened, and senators unanimously endorsed the change in sitting time to 11am. Akpabio clarified that this adjustment does not necessitate plenary sessions to last until 3pm; sessions could conclude earlier if necessary.

Additionally, Akpabio mentioned that committees with urgent matters could convene from 9am to 11am or 10am to 11am, wrapping up their business before the plenary sessions commence.

The change in the Senate’s sitting time is expected to facilitate better alignment with the lawmakers’ schedules and improve the efficiency of legislative activities.