There is suspense pervading the entire National Assembly this morning. The day many Nigerians have been anticipating and looking forward to is finally here and it promises to indeed be thrilling as Nigeria’s Senator-elects resume for the first day that will decide what will influence what happens on the floor of both houses for the next four years.
Their decision today also will determine just how well the relationship between the legislative arm of government and the Executive will pan out for the next four years.
Today Nigeria’s 109 senator-elect will choose their presiding officers who will pilot the affairs of the upper legislative chamber.
Constitutionally, the inauguration of a Senate is preceded by a proclamation by the Nigerian president. Having issued the proclamation last Thursday, the coast is now clear for the election of the number three citizen of the country and his deputy.
The build-up to the election has revealed fascinating power and interest plays.
This started with who gets nominated and does not.
It started with the candidacy of three ranking lawmakers: Ali Ndume, Ahmed Lawan and Kabiru Gaya but the latter withdrew some days ago.
However, even though the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) endorsed the candidacy of Mr Lawan, Mr Ndume has vowed to forge on with his ambition. On Tuesday morning, the main opposition party, PDP, declared support for Mr Ndume and asked all its senators-elect to vote for him.
Barring any last minute decision, the race is expected to be between the two today.
For Deputy Senate President, only one candidate, Ovie Omo-Agege, representing Delta Central seems to be in the race. Mr Omo-Agege was on Sunday endorsed by the APC for the position forcing other contestants to shelve their ambitions.
So far, no candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has declared an intention to run for either of the two positions. But with the PDP supporting Mr Ndume, a deal may have been reached with him on the Deputy Senate Presidency seat.
The winners among the candidates will be revealed in some hours’ time after an election which is scheduled to hold by 10 a.m.
Although the secret ballot system is on the most recent voting rules of the Senate, a court on Monday asked the National Assembly to return to its 2011 rules which provide for an open ballot.
The National Assembly management has, however, not announced what mode the election will take following the court order.
Ndume Storms National Assembly
Reports have it that a strong contender for the position of the Senate President in the 9th National Assembly, Ali Ndume, arrived at the premises of the federal parliament at about 7:20 am on Tuesday
He exchanged pleasantries with some people on arrival and went straight to the mosque within the premises to pray.
Also the Senator-elect for Imo West district, Rochas Okorocha also entered into the National Assembly premises and was seen entering into the annexe office of the Senate President at about 7:45 am.
It was not clear yet whether he was in the Assembly on invitation or whether he had been cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission to take part in the inauguration.
Source: Premium Times