Ahmed Lawan, the All Progressives Congress (APC) preferred candidate, has been elected the president of the Nigerian Senate. Lawan defeated the People’s Democratic Party adopted candidate Ali Ndume, also of the APC with 79 votes. Ndume polled only 28 votes.
Also, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the APC preferred candidate, was elected deputy senate president, defeating former deputy Senate president Ike Ekweremadu of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with 68 votes. Ekweremadu polled 39 votes.
Ahmed Baba Kaita, (APC-Katsina North), nominated Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC-Delta Central) and was seconded by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi. Ekweremadu was nominated by Chukwuka Utazi, a member of the PDP, representing Enugu North federal constituency. Rose Oko, a senator representing Cross River North seconded the motion.
Tension was high in the upper legislative chamber when the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani Ataba Omolori, informed the Senators elect that the elections would be in strict compliance with the Senate Standing Rule of 2015 which permitted the use of secret ballot system.
At this point there was uproar as some Senators including Barau Jibrin (APC-Kano) and others objected to the use of secret voting. The Senators elect in this group drew the clerk’s attention to the existence of a court order which restrained the Clerk from using secret balloting and ordered open balloting. However, many other Senators-elect shouted against the pro-open balloting Senators saying “No court order! No!! No!!!”
The uproar continued for three minutes until Omolori call the House to order again and warned that he would not tolerate rowdiness and unruly conduct. He however responded to a question by Barau Jibrin on whether or not a court order existed. The Clerk said this was just out of respect and warned that he wouldn’t take further questions.
According to the Clerk, there is no Court order served on him, and if there was he had no reason not to respect it. An air of unpredictable silence returned to the chamber and the Clerk of the Senate, Nelson Ayewoh, was called upon to read out the names of Senators-elect to determine who and who were present for the election.
According to the rule, a minimum of one third of the 109 Senators which is 37, must be present in chamber before the election can take place. A total of 107 Senators elect were in chamber at the end of the roll call. It was realized during the roll-call that the name of the former Governor of Imo, Rochas Okorocha was missing from the list of lawmakers-elect from the state. Okorocha, who got the court’s nod as senator-elect for Imo West, is yet to be issued a certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Out of the three slots for senators from Imo, only senator-elect Ezenwa Onyewuchi (PDP) from Imo East participated in the process as the election of Benjamin Uwajumogu for Imo North is yet to be determined. In total, 107 out of the 109 senators-elect cast their votes using secret balloting.