2019 was full of many twists and dramas in the Upper Chambers. Behind the historic moments were some senators that caught the attention of millions of Nigeria.
Here are the senators who courted and hugged controversies in 2019:
Senator Shabi Abdullahi
He was at some point the spokesman of the 8th Senate. The representative of Niger North district is Deputy Chief whip of the Senate. He sponsored the infamous hate speech bill. To make it worse, he proposed death punishment for violators, sparking a lot of outcries across the nation.
Senator Sani Musa
The billionaire businessman- turned- politician got elected in rather controversial circumstances after his party initially denied him the ticket in the primary elections. Having settled into the Red Chamber proposed the social media bill, which many Nigerians condemned as obnoxious.
Senator Dino Melaye
Although he is no more in the Chamber, Senator Dino Melaye succeeded in entertaining Nigerians as usual before he lost out in a fiercely contested rerun election. Loud, abrasive and quite wordy, Melaye could pass for a trade union leader instead of a distinguished senator.
In January, Melaye refused to surrender to the police following an allegation that he shot and almost killed a police officer at a checkpoint in Kogi on July 19, 2018. After laying siege to his apartment in Abuja for days, the controversial senator surrendered to the police on January 4, 2019 after fellow lawmakers persuaded him to resolve the situation with the police amicably.
Not done with his antics, Melaye developed an ailment to perpetually keep himself in ‘sick bed’ to prevent trial. The Police medical team had to give him a clean bill of health and transferred him from an Abuja hospital to the DSS medical facility.
On getting to the DSS hospital, the ‘ailing’ Melaye refused to enter the main building of the centre. The viral photos of Melaye sleeping on the floor within the premises of the DSS hospital painted a picture of a man who enjoys being at the centre of controversies.
In September, when his criminal trial resumed, the ex-Kogi West senator showed up as a stroke patient. He was assisted into the courtroom by two aides, who told the court that the senator could not walk. Melaye’s endless drama hit its climax in November when he lost the rerun of the Kogi West senatorial election to Smart Adeyemi, who he refers to as his political wife.
Senator Jibrin Isah Echocho
The Igala-born senator was largely anonymous during the year under review. While he did not see the need to remain in the background as he has always done, it remains a mystery. Instead, the senator representing Kogi East senatorial district displayed insensitivity by reducing the death of Mrs. Salome Abu, a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP women leader in his state as a subject of politicking.
At a time the nation was shell-shocked over the brutal murder of a female politician, Echocho chose to play politics. He exonerated the perpetrators, saying that it was a retaliatory attack that left two others critically injured too.
Senator Elisha Abbo
The Adamawa-born politician started his journey to the Senate on a rather distasteful note. Weeks after the Senate settled down for business, a video of Abbo assaulting a nursing mother surfaced on the internet.
Abbo, who is one of the youngest senators in the 9th Assembly, thoroughly embarrassed himself and the sacred institution he represents. What followed after the video went viral, was at best only fit for comedy shows.
First, the senator vehemently denied the authenticity of the video. When he realised he couldn’t sustain the lie, he apologised to Nigerians in a hurriedly organised press conference. While some Nigerians began to canvass for him to be forgiven, Abbo showed up in court pleading not guilty.
Abbo is one of the youngest senators in the 9th Senate. In the space of one week, Abbo embroiled himself in another controversy when he had an altercation with Mrs. Remi Tinubu, a member of the Senate ad hoc committee investigating the incident between him and the nursing mother.
Tinubu had advised Abbo to comply with the rules of the committee or get suspended after the senator refused to swear an oath. Irked by the statement, Abbo lost it, saying, “I will not sit here and listen to you threaten me with suspension. I am a senator like you. You cannot threaten me with suspension.”