LIVE UPDATES: Lawan, Ndume face-off in race for Nigeria’s Senate Presidency

Nigerian Senate
Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN (middle) and others during a Briefing of the Senate on the Planned Closure of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja Runway for Repairs at the Senate Chamber on Tuesday, 17th January 2017.

The election day is here when Nigeria’s 109 senators-elect will choose their presiding officers who will pilot the affairs of the upper legislative chamber.

Constitutionally, the inauguration of a Senate is preceded by a proclamation by the Nigerian president. Having issued the proclamation last Thursday, the coast is now clear for election of the number three citizen of the country and his deputy.

The build up to the election has revealed fascinating power and interest plays.

It started with the candidacy of three ranking lawmakers: Ali Ndume, Ahmed Lawan and Kabiru Gaya but the latter withdrew some days ago.

However, even though the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) endorsed the candidacy of Mr Lawan, Mr Ndume has vowed to forge on with his ambition. On Tuesday morning, the main opposition party, PDP, declared support for Mr Ndume and asked all its senators-elect to vote for him.

Barring any last minute decision, the race is expected to be between the two today.

For Deputy Senate President, only one candidate, Ovie Omo-Agege, representing Delta Central seems to be in the race. Mr Omo-Agege was on Sunday endorsed by the APC for the position forcing other contestants to shelve their ambitions.

So far, no candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has declared intention to run for either of the two positions. But with the PDP supporting Mr Ndume, a deal may have been reached with him on the Deputy Senate Presidency seat.

The winners among the candidates will be revealed in some hours’ time after an election which is scheduled to hold by 10 a.m.

Although the secret ballot system is on the most recent voting rules of the Senate, a court on Monday asked the National Assembly to return to its 2011 rules which provides for open ballot.

The National Assembly management has, however, not announced what mode the election will take following the court order.

Stay up to date with updates to the build-up, election and post-election activities on this page.


Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State leads APC governors to the Senate chamber. Umar Ganduje of Kano State and others governors accompany him.

10.02 a.m., The Clerk of the National Assembly starts proceedings.

“I have received proclamation for the holding of the first session of the ninth National Assembly,” he said and proceeded to read the letter from President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ahead of the inauguration of the ninth National Assembly, governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have stormed the National Assembly.

Led by the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, the governors went straight into the Senate chamber.

Notable amongst them are Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje; Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrazak; Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule and Katsina State, Aminu Masari.

Also in the entourage are former governors of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari and Borno State, Kashim Shettima.

9:54am – Clerk of the National Assembly, Sani Omolori proceeds to the senate chamber to start up the business of the day.

The Clerk of the Senate has started taking the roll call of senators present.

He is doing this in alphabetical order.

The roll call has now been taken.

“107 senators is present,” the clerk announced.

The election is about to start. According to the Senate’s standing order, a senator-elect is eligible to propose a colleague as Senate president.

Yahaya Abdullahi moved a motion nominating Ahmed Lawan as Senate president.

He was seconded by Adeola Olamilaken of Lagos West.

“I stand to humbly accept the nomination as moved and seconded,” Mr Lawan said.

The former Senate Leader is now given the opportunity to address his colleagues.

He congratulated his colleagues on their election victory while charging them on critical legislative intervention to provide good governance in the country.

Mr Lawan urged them to shun partisanship while in the Senate.

He urged them to work in surmounting the myriads of challenges facing the country.

“These challenges require that we must all come together to provide the climate for our citizens to be safe, do business and have job opportunities,” he said.

“If you elect me and I become president, I will work with all of you. I will ensure that our political difference does not hinder us from performing our statutory function,” he said.

His speech was followed by an applause from the lawmakers and others in the gallery. This is against the Senate rules.

Isyaku Cliff, Adamawa North, moved the motion for nomination of Ali Ndume for Senate Presidency.

It was seconded by Barry Mpigi, Rivers South East Senator.

“I humbly accept the nomination that I take the chair of the ninth Senate,” Mr Ndume said in acceptance

“I insisted and the reason is I feel I have to be grateful to Allah and the institution continues to change,” he added.

He reeled out his nine point agenda.

He called for ‘dismantling’ the office of the Senate president to allow for more access.

Mr Ndume also urged swift passage of the budget and key bills. He proposed three months for budget passage.

With no further nominations, the race is now between Mr Lawan and Mr Ndume.

The clerk declared the nomination closed.

It is now time time for election. He announced the the open-secret method of voting will be adopted.

“Each senator will be called upon and a ballot paper shall be given to you and you will proceed to the cubicle, cast your vote and put it in the box. That’s the procedure,” Mr Sani-Omolori said.

The election has commenced. The senators are called one by one by the Clerk to cast their votes.

They are expected to receive a ballot paper, vote for their preferred candidate and drop in ballot box provided.

The election has commenced. The senators are called one by one by the Clerk to cast their votes.

They are expected to receive a ballot paper, vote for their preferred candidate and drop in ballot box provided.

The election is still on. It requires only a simple majority for either of the two to carry the day.

According to Order 3(3) (e)(ii) of the Senate standing order, ‘the Senator-elect who has received the highest number of votes shall be declared the Senate President-elect.’

In case both candidates have the same votes, a further election shall take place.

“This voting shall continue until one candidate receives a simple majority of votes of the Senators-elect. Such a person will then be declared Senate President-elect.”

For this election, 107 Senators-elect are present.

The voting has ended and counting is about to start.

The clerk now invites Yahaya Abdullahi and Adeola Olamilekan to serve as agents for Mr Lawan.

For Mr Ndume, he invited Isyaku Cliff and Barry Mpigi, both PDP senators.

Sorting is ongoing.

Mr Lawan is now called upon to come and take the oath of allegiance.

He is accompanied by the two who nominated and seconded his ambition.

He thereafter sat on the chair reserved for the Senate President.

Senator-elect representing Enugu North, Chukwuka Utazi nominated former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu for the position he left.

The nomination was seconded by Senator-elect Rose Oko.

Mr Ekweremadu accepted the nomination.

Now is the time for election of Deputy Senate President. The process is the same and that of the Senate President.

First to nominate is Katsina North Senator-elect Ahmad Babba-Kaita who nominated Senator-elect Ovie Omo-Agege for the position.

It was seconded by Sabi Abdullahi representing Niger North.

Mr Omo-Agege accepted the nomination.

Election is over. Sorting is ongoing to determine who will be the Deputy Senate President.

Currently, APC chairman, Adams Oshiomole, has left his seat to congratulate Mr Lawan.

He is followed by APC governors also present in the chamber.

The chamber has now become rowdy as senators-elect and others are moving around.

The clerk is yet to officially announce the winner of the Deputy Senate President’s election.

The clerk has administered the oath of office on Mr Omo-Agege.

According to the standing order, the new Senate President is expected to administer the oath of office on all other Senators.

“(7) Every Senator-elect shall, before taking his seat, submit his Certificate of Return to the Senate President, as well as his assets and liabilities declaration and acknowledgment receipt, and subsequently take and subscribe to the Oath/Affirmation of Allegiance and Oath of Membership prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended,” the order says.

The clerk will now proceed to the House of Representatives to do similar assignment.

Now, the clerk of the Senate is administering the oath of office on the Senators-elect.

They are being called forward in batches of nine, representing three states.



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