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NASS: Ndume asks court to set aside open secret ballot

ali_ndume
Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume

Former Senate Leader Muhammed Ali Ndume has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside the adoption of open secret ballot for the just concluded election of the National Assembly leadership.

In an originating summons by his counsel, Gboyega Adeyemi, Ndume asked the court to make an order restraining the National Assembly from applying open ballot system in the selection and election of the principal members/officers of the Senate.

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In the suit which joins the Clerk of the National Assembly, Clerk of the Senate, Sergeant at Arms of the Senate as defendants, Ndume argued that “the purported proclamation by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria adopting the open ballot system of voting for the selection and nomination of the principal members contrary to the extant Standing Order 2015.”

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Ndume raised two questions for the determination of the court which include whether by the provisions of Section 60 of the Constitution which gives the “Senate or the House of Representatives the power to make their own Rules, Procedure including the Standing Orders of the Senate, whether any persons or bodies including the Judiciary and the Executive arms of Government of Nigeria can validly, lawfully and or morally change, amend and distort the extant Senate Standing Order, 2015 (as amended) except the Senate itself in the manner provided in the Order/Rule.”

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He also questions whether “having regards to the clear provisions of the extant Senate Standing Order, 2015 (as amended) which provides for secret ballot in the election, selection and nomination of the principal members of the Senate, whether the Senate, without amending the subsisting Standing Order, can adopt open secret ballot in the election of its principal members or officers.”

The case has been adjourned to July 3 for hearing.

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