At exactly 10.00am, Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani Ataba Omolori, entered the chamber.
He announced that he had received President Muhammadu Buhari’s Proclamation of the 9th National Assembly.
The Clerk also announced that the only business for the day was the election of the President of the Senate and the Deputy President of the Senate.
Omolori further 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 of APC, Kano State 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 would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, had on Friday directed the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Ataba Sani Omolori, to conduct the elections in strict compliance with existing rules of the two chambers.
Omolori, according to sources close to the Presidency, was at the Aso Presidential Villa on Friday to brief the President on preparations for the the elections which has been scheduled to hold on Tuesday.
Omolori’s visit to the Villa, it was further learnt, was to honor a presidential invitation to that effect.
The method of voting has been a source of serious disagreement between the two main contenders for the seat of the Senate President.
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Just on Saturday, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who is one of the top contenders to the office of the Deputy Senate President, told journalists in Abuja that he was sure that Secret balloting as contained in the Senate Standing Rule of 2011 would be applied to the election.
Two aides to the President were said to have influenced Omolori’s invitation to the Presidency.
When asked about the preparations for Tuesday’s election, Omolori was said to have told the President that there was the need to ensure that the image of the National Assembly is not endangered in conducting the elections.
He also drew attention to the existing rules of both chambers.
Buhari, in a brief remark appreciated the fact that Omolori expressed readiness to stick to the rule to avoid chaos and disorderliness.
A source said:
“The he Clerk briefed Mr. President on the procedure for the election of presiding officers and what the rule says. Right there, the President directed the Clerk to ensure that the right thing is done by sticking to the rules of both chambers. In fact the President was impressed that the Clerk did not show any sign of compromising the rule.