9th NASS: No going back on secret ballot voting, says Gaya



By Joy Odor/Abuja

Deputy Senate Presidential aspirant, Senator Kabiru Gaya, said yesterday, that the secret ballot voting system to elect presiding officers of the National Assembly would still be adopted during the inauguration of 9th Senate and House of Representatives next month.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, the Senator, who is representing Kano South Senatorial District under the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC, declared that the provisions of the Senate Standing Rule which stipulate system is still valid.

The former Kano State governor, however, cautioned that any attempt to effect a change in the rule must be in strict compliance with parliamentary procedures.

Gaya’s comments came in reaction to recent protests and calls to the Senate to adopt the open ballot system in electing its presiding officers for the ninth Senate.

He stressed that the 2015 Senate Rule is the valid document for use at the election since it is the one currently in use.

According to him, the process of amending the Senate Rules is such that a motion to that effect would be sponsored on the Senate floor and would be considered thoroughly by the upper legislative chamber.

He said such motion must be presented before the end of the life span of this Senate and processed and approved, adding that “anything outside that is outside the due process”.

“Between 2011 Rule and 2015 Rule, which one comes last?  the second one supersedes the first one. I am a member of the National Assembly and we were able to do these rules together.

“We cannot change it now unless a member of the Senate moves for that change. If he moves for the change and somebody seconds it, the motion will be debated and the same thing also in the House of Representatives. It will be debated.

“If there is discrepancy between the Senate and the House, we will set up a Conference Committee. And they will bring it to us to find a date to sit down and pass it. Can you do that in one month? Gaya queried.

It was learnt that some lawmakers are becoming apprehensive over alleged pressure  being mounted by certain political stakeholders on the Clerk of the National Assembly,  CNA, Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Omolori, whose duty it is to conduct the election into positions of the presiding officers, to adopt a different draft rule that permits the use of open ballot system.

Gaya said his aspiration to be Deputy President of the Senate is based on the fact that his North West zone which produced the highest number of 21 Senators during this year’s general elections, deserved to be given the slot.

If elected, he said the position would enable him contribute more to the strengthening of Senate as an institution and development of the country in general.


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