History was made on Tuesday when the Senator representing Yobe North, Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan emerged Senate President of the Ninth Senate.
This is coming as Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central Senatorial District) dusted immediate Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, to clinch the post of Deputy Senate President of the Ninth Senate.
Lawan defeated Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume with 79 votes to 28 to emerge the winner of the keenly contested election.
A total of 107 Senators-elect voted in the election.
The election of Lawan was not without drama.
Uproar erupted in the Senate chamber venue of the election when the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sanni-Omolori, announced that the use of open Secret ballot as the method of election of the presiding officers of the upper chamber.
Omolori said that the use of open secret ballot was as contained in Senate Standing Orders 2, 3,4,5, 6 and 7 of 2015.
The announcement did not go down well with majority of All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators-elect.
Senator Jibrin Barau (Kano North) who went to court to obtain an injunction for the use of open ballot as contained in the Senate Standing Order 2011, openly challenged the Clerk.
There was confusion in the chamber as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senators-elect appeared prepared for confrontation with their APC colleagues.
Barau pointedly asked the Clerk if he did not receive court order for the use of Senate Standing Order 2011.
Omolori repeated that the main business of the day was election of President of the Senate and Deputy President of the Senate.
He reminded the Senators-elect that no question or motion would be entertained.
Omolori went further to say that he did not receive any court order mandating him to use Senate Standing Order 2011.
The Clerk noted that he had only heard about the court Order but did not receive any Order from the court.
He said that he answered the question on court order out of respect for the senators as he was not bound to answer.
The Clerk insisted that the Senators-elect do not have any say on the issue especially when the election would be conducted in accordance with the Senate Standing Order 2015.
Order was subsequently restored to the chamber when Omolori stood his ground to use open secret ballot.
Omolori directed Senate Clerk, Nelson Ayewoh, to take the roll call to establish the number of Senators-elect in the chamber.
The Kogi born Clerk to the National Assembly announced after the roll call that 107 Senators-elect were in the chamber out of 109 Senators.
The Clerk’s announcement effectively shut out former Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha (Imo West) and the Senator for Imo North Senatorial District out of the election.
While Okorocha was not cleared for the election, the case of the winner of Imo North Senatorial District is still in court.
The Clerk called for nominations for the position of Senate President.
Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North) nominated Senator Ahmad Lawan to take the seat of Senate President.
The nomination of Lawan was seconded by Senator Solomon Adeola (Lagos West).
Lawan accepted his nomination and promised to work for the unity and progress of the country if elected.
Senator Ishaku Elisha (Adamawa North) nominated Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume for the position of Senate President.
Ndume’s nomination was seconded by Senator Ndidi Barinada (Rivers East).
Ndume also accepted his nomination and promised to unbundle the Office of the Senate President to enable senators to reclaim rights and control of the institution of the Senate.
In the absence of more nominations, the Clerk closed nomination.
Omolori announced once again, apparently for emphasis, that voting will be by open secret ballot as contained in the Senate Standing Order 2015.
The Clerk also repeated that 107 Senators-elect would vote.
Ballot papers were distributed to the Senators-elect to vote.
Voting for the Senate President commenced by 10.50am after the initial uproar over voting procedure and was concluded by 11.56 am.
There was tension in the chamber as votes were being counted. The tension began to fizzle out when it became obvious that Lawan was coasting home to victory.
At exactly 12 noon, Omolori announced that “today 11th of June 2019, gathered in the Senate chamber are 107 Senators-elect. 107 Senators-elect cast their votes.
“After voting and counting of votes, Senator-elect, Ahmad Lawan received 79 votes. Senator-elect Mohammed Ali Ndume received 28 votes. Total vote cast 107.
“On the strength of this, Senator-elect Ahmad Lawan, having scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared winner and returned elected President of the Ninth Senate.
The Clerk promptly administered the oath of office and oath of President of the Senate on Lawan and swore him as the President of the Ninth Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The implication of Lawan’s 79 vote meant that 18 PDP Senators-elect voted for him against their adopted candidate, Ndume.