A civil society coalition, named the Coalition for Stable Democracy (CSD) on Friday warned Clerk to the National Assembly (CCNA) and some leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) against plans to alter the Rule books of the Senate and the House of Representatives ahead of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly in June.
The coalition, in a statement by its National Coordinator of the Coalition, Alhaji Khaled Jibrin raised the alarm over alleged plan to compromise the electoral process of voting in the National Assembly to illegally influence the election of the Presiding officers of the 9th National Assembly.
The Coalition stated that there were clandestine plots “to intimidate and harass the bureaucracy of the National Assembly to alter the rules of House of Representatives and the Senate as a desperate measure to brighten the chances of some preferred candidates for leadership in both chambers of the National Assembly.”
The group stated that the plot was being hatched by some loyalists of a leading candidate for the Speakership position in the House of Representatives, adding that the plot was also targeted at the Senate adding that it was aimed at reining in the Clerk to the National Assembly and if possible blackmail him to surreptitiously amend the House rule which provides for secret voting and alter the same to ensure open ballot in the chamber.
The Coalition stated that since the voting procedures in the National Assembly has been brought in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act, which permits Secret Ballot, nobody can reverse the trend without facing the consequences before the law.
The statement read in part: “The plot according to our finding will be coordinated by a former chairman of the House Committee on Business and Rules.
“We have noticed disturbing trend of desperation to foist of the National Assembly unpopular candidates. First was when they purportedly endorse a candidate for the Senate Presidency masquerading such as party’s decision and when the wicked plot was botched, they came up with fake news that President Muhammadu Buhari was behind the endorsements whereas the President had openly told the nation that he would not interfere with the leadership election process of the legislative arm.
“Again, just as it dawn on them that the imposition plot is offensive to Representatives and Senators, they organized a protest, sadly recruited the some innocent and pauperised citizens to carry placards to the National Assembly to canvass open ballot as against them to call for open ballot as against the Rules of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the 2010 Electoral Act as well as the 1999 Constitution.
Section 50, subsection (1) provides that “There shall be (a) a President and a Deputy President of the Senate, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves, and (b) a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.”
“We are duty bound as Nigerians to expose these ungodly desperate plots against the wishes and aspirations of the Nigerian people.”