Strong evidence of a full blown crisis at the inauguration of the 9th Senate is looming large over the nation and it appears the ruling All Progressives Congress and the President are not ready to stem the tide any time soon.
According to reports, there is palpable fear, tension looming over the 9th Senate ahead of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly and the election of its presiding officers.
Distinguished Senator Ahmed Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan says that the 9th Senate under his Leadership would ensure unity among members of the parliament and make transparency and accountability its watchword for better service delivery for Nigerians. pic.twitter.com/2Bw0nujOgw
— Lawan Aljan Nguru (@LawanIsaShehu1) May 18, 2019
The cause of the looming crisis is said to be the choice of voting system that will be used in conducting the elections of the Senate President and the deputy.
According to Vangurad, it was gathered that with the series of meetings in homes, hotels, nocturnal and during break of fast as the Ramadan continues, what forms the centre of discourse is how to change the secret voting pattern currently in the 2015 Standing Order, as amended, to the open one contained in the 2011 Standing Order, which has since been replaced by the former.
Video: Sen. Ovie Omo- Agege apologies for criticising election timetable – Video of Senator Ovie Omo Agege apologizing to the Senate for his remarks on the Electoral Act last week Thursday. pic.twitter.com/DIHi3sM2SV — The Nigerian Senate (@NGRSenate) Fe… https://t.co/fjmfaF49Qr
— Vanguard Newspapers (@vanguardngrnews) February 21, 2018
It was learned that there could be violent clash among the legislators over the method of voting that the National Assembly management might chose to adopt, just as senators from both sides of the divide actually expressed the fears that the process could be disrupted.
A source, however, disclosed that senators-elect, who are loyal to the candidate favoured by All Progressives Congress, Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North), are allegedly rooting for and mounting pressure on the Presidency to ensure the National Assembly management adopts the open ballot system.
Leader Of The Senate 9th Senate President Insha Allah, Senator Ahmad Lawan Today In Plenary .
Lawan Isa Shehu
May, 15, 2019. pic.twitter.com/tefhhkCjPQ
— Lawan Aljan Nguru (@LawanIsaShehu1) May 15, 2019
But on the other hand, supporters of former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), are kicking against the alleged position of Lawan’s camp as they are said to be making efforts to ensure that the 2015 Senate Orders is used for the election.
According to Ndume’s camp, the 2015 Standing Orders, which had already been distributed to all senators-elect during the two-week induction programme that took place at the Trancorp Hilton Hotel, is the authentic one that must be used for the election. The 2015 Rule Book made provisions for secret ballot, while the 2011 version provided for open ballot as an option.
Discussion about the possible outcomes of leadership contest in the 9th senate, with Senator Khairat Abdulrazaq. pic.twitter.com/xKYTPIEf3z
— Ayegboka Saheed Plato (@AyegbokaP) May 18, 2019
Use of EFCC to harass senators, others to change the rules
Also ahead of the emergence of the Senate President, it was gathered that the pro-Lawan’s camp allegedly pressurised officials of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to harass top management of the National Assembly last week.
Some of the invited officers of the nation’s apex legislative institution, who spoke, yesterday, on condition of anonymity, said officials of the EFCC, who grilled them for hours, actually demanded to know the voting method they would adopt for the election in June.
One of the officials said: “The EFCC claimed that our invitation was based on the petition against us by the legislative aides and after answering the specific questions they asked on the issue, they shifted to the issue of presiding officers’ elections.
“They (EFCC officials) asked us to tell them the voting method we want to adopt for the election and we explained that we have already distributed copies of the 2015 Rule Book to the elected lawmakers during their inauguration in April. “We told the anti-graft agency’s officials that the lawmakers-elect are already aware of the provisions in the 2015 Rule Book.”
Imminent crisis on inauguration day
Meanwhile, an APC senator, who is loyal to Lawan’s camp who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the inauguration might be disrupted if the management decided to adopt the secret ballot method. The Senator said: “We are going to adopt the open ballot system because that is the standard practice all over the World.
The 2015 Rule Book, which made provisions for the secret ballot was forged, we must use the 2011 version. “I cannot guarantee that the event would be peaceful if the management succumbed to the pressure of the current presiding officers of the eight National Assembly by conducting the election through a secret ballot arrangement.” Similarly, an APC senator-elect, who is loyal to the camp of Senator Ndume during an interaction with journalists, weekend, however, vowed that the management would adopt the secret voting method to avoid any violent clash on inauguration day.
The senator-elect, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “The Lawan group is jittery that their candidate would not win if the management adopts the current Rule Book to conduct the election. “It is clear to the pro-Lawan senators-elect that some leaders of APC are trying to force senate leader on all of us and we would reject such imposition.
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