An Abuja High Court has ordered the clerk of the National Assembly to use the open ballot system in the election of the president of the Senate, it emerged on Monday night.
Justice O.A. Musa who gave the order ruled that the Senate should not use the Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended) in the conduct of election of Presiding officers of the senate of the 9thAssembly, pending the determination of this suit.
The order has been received with excitement in the camp of Senator Ahmad Lawan who is the All Progressives Congress, APC endorsed candidate for Senate President. His main rival, Senator Ali Ndume has been banking of breaking the ranks of the supporters of Lawan in persuading them that the party would not know if they vote for him.
The Monday night order followed a motion brought by Senator Jibrin Barau, APC, Kano in the suit with case number FCT/HC/BW/CV/136/2019. The senator was represented by his counsel, Ebere Nwanya.
The exparte order was upon the argument by Senator Barau’s counsel that issues arising from the 2015 amendment of the Senate Standing Order were still to be resolved. The judge upon the argument ruled that the clerk of the National Assembly, clerk of the Senate and sergeant-at-arms enforce the use of the 2011 Standing Order which requires the use of open ballot in the choice of the presiding officers of the Senate.
In its orders, the High Court, Court No 13, Bwari, Abuja, ordered that “an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents and each of them, whether by themselves, servants or agents or otherwise from further using, relying or enforcing the senate standing orders 2015 (as amended) for the purposes of conducting any legislative business or affairs in the 9th senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria including but not limited to the election of Presiding officers of the senate to commence on the 11th of June, 2019 and any other day pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Motion in this case.
“An interim order restraining the 1st & 2nd Respondents and each of them whether by themselves or otherwise not to use any other senate standing orders for the inauguration of the 9th Assembly whatsoever including but limited to the election of Presiding officers of the senate on Tuesday, 11th June 2019 and any other day except the senate standing Orders 2011 (as amended) by the senate on the 24th May, 2011.
“As the order was heard and made ex-parte any party aggrieved shall file a motion to set aside or vacate the said order and serve same on the Applicant or counsel before the next adjourned date”.