Why we have many empty seats during plenary at national assembly – Akin Alabi

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Ever wondered why there are so many empty seats during the plenary session at the National Assembly?, well the member representing Egbeda Ona-Ara federal constituency, Oloye Akin Alabi has provided an answer.

The lawmaker made the clarification via his official Twitter handle.

“Anytime I post on social media, any picture of me on the floor of the House of Representatives, there is usually a question that dominates the thread. The question is, why are there so many unoccupied seats? Some would ask: where are the other members?

“The reasons are not far fetched. The first reason is that there are more seats than the number of members. There are 360 members. The number of seats are almost double the number of members so if everyone seats, there would still be many empty seats. Always.

“Do you know that the joint session of the National Assembly (Senate and House of Reps), like during the president’s budget presentation is held on the floor of the House of Representatives? All the Senators, Honourables, Service Chiefs, Presidential aides, ministers etc all seat.

“There are enough seats for everyone. Now imagine just members, it will always look empty. For me, my seat is on the last row. No one seats behind me. All the seats behind me are not assigned to anyone. That is the number reason why there are usually empty seats.

“Here is the next reason. Some members can be away for other legislative duties. Oversight functions outside Abuja for example. This can take you out of town for some days. If only one committee (out of about 100) is out, that will be a floor less about 20 members.

“Committee meetings can also account for some members’ absence. Normally, committee meetings do not clash with plenary so meetings are set for around 3pm. However, plenary stretches till about 4pm sometimes and members will go to their committee meetings. They’re that important.