NASS leadership: Senator -elect advocates constitutional provisions for principal officers’ elections


By Kingsley Okoye

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Abuja, June 5, 2023 Senator-elect, Suleiman Kawu (NNPP-Kano), has urged politicians not to undermine 1999 Constitution in the elections of principal officers of the 10th National Assembly.

Kawu said at a news conference in Abuja on Monday, that it was important for modern democracies to recognise the roles and responsibilities of the three arms of government in achieving the overall national interest.

He said the constitution was explicit about how the President and Deputy President of the Senate should be elected.

“For instance, Chapter two of the ninth standing orders of the Senate 2022 as amended, stipulates procedures for selection of presiding officers of the Senate.”

He said Section 50 sub- section one “A” of 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended, stipulated election provisions of President and Deputy President of the Senate, who shall be elected from among members themselves.

“Section 50 sub- section one “B” stipulates that a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.”

He said it was clear that the election of the presiding officers was purely an internal affair that concerned only members of the National Assembly and should be allowed to decide who among them should occupy the positions.

This, he noted, was to avoid repetition of the past mistakes on elections of principal officers of NASS.

“We may all recall the incidences of the 7th and 8th National Assembly.

“In my view, external interference in the election of the next Presiding Officers of the National Assembly would violate the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and Standing Orders of both the Senate and House of Representatives.

“It will also cause serious misunderstandings between the legislative and executive arms of government.”

He alleged that available information revealed that some desperate politicians were planning to use undemocratic means to impose lawmakers-elect of their choice to become presiding officers against the wishes of the majority.

Kawu described the alleged move as undemocratic, unacceptable and dangerous to democracy and the nation at large.

He commended President Bola Tinubu for appointing Sen. George Akume as Secretary to Government of the Federation, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila as Chief of Staff and Sen. Ibrahim Hadejia as the Deputy Chief of Staff.

He said the appointees were very conversant with the processes of the National Assembly, adding that their appointments would strengthen the working relationships of arms of government.

“This is the first time in the history of our democracy when we have a President, Vice president, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief of Staff to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff all with parliamentary experiences.

“Thus, it is highly expected of them by Nigerians to respect both the constitutional and standing orders provisions.

“Consequently, I want use this opportunity to draw the attention of Mr. President to this unfortunate and undemocratic move by some elements to tamper with the laid down procedures.

“Similarly, I want to also call on other Stakeholders, Civil Society Organisations and international communities to stand firm in ensuring democratic consolidation in Nigeria.

He said he was confident that President Tinubu as a true democrat who believed in the rule of law, would do everything possible to safeguard the sanctity of the National Assembly.”

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