*** Retains Closed ballot system of Electing Senate President, Deputy 

By Henry Umoru 

The Senate has amended the Senate Standing Rules 2015, and approved a simple majority for the election of presiding officers. 

In the amendment carried out yesterday, the Senate also retained a closed ballot system of electing  the President of the Senate and the Deputy.

The amendment of the rules was sequel to  the consideration of a motion pursuant to Order 111 of the Senate Standing Rule, 2015.

The motion was sponsored by Chairman of the Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Suleiman Sadiq Umar, All Progressives Congress, APC, Kwara North and the Vice Chairman who is the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, APC, Kebbi North.

The  Senate amended the Committee’s proposal under Order 2 to allow a simple majority for the election of the President of the Senate and the Deputy. 

The Upper Chamber also amended Order 96 to provide for Senators to be members of not more than seven Committees at a time, while committee membership would consist of not less than seven members and not more that twenty members at most.

The Senate  amidst amendments to Order 96, also moved the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), now the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) to be under the jurisdiction of the Petroleum Upstream Committee. 

Also moved was the Joint Admission Matriculations Board (JAMB) to fall within the jurisdiction of its Committee on Tertiary and TETFUND.  

The Rules and Business Committee had proposed two-third majority in its report. 

In his presentation, Chairman of Rules and Business Committee, Senator Umar, recalled that the Senate Standing Orders were last amended in 2015, “to accommodate issues that will make such Orders dynamic to facilitate effective legislative process.”

He noted that despite the amendment, there were a number of issues that required further amendment in response to emerging developments which require enhanced rules of practice and procedure for sound legislation to tackle such developments. 

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Suleiman Umar said, “Aware that the development necessitated and has made it imperative to amend the Standing Orders of the Senate 2015 (as amended) occasioned by the slit and addition of Senate Standing Committees by the 8th Senate and do not have their functions and jurisdictions reflect in the Standing Order of the Senate;

“Further aware that there also exist some areas in the Senate Standing Orders that requires amendment to ensure fm reflection of present realities, smooth running of the Senate and international best parliamentary practice;

“Notes that in the face of the Senate Standing Order there exist no provision for Order 4 to 8 and numbering error in Order 95; and 

“Aware that the amendments have been circulated to Senators in accordance with Order 111 Rule 2 of the Senate Standing Order.”

In his contribution, Senator James Manager, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Delta South supported a two-third majority for the election of officers. 

On his part, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, APC, Ogun Central kicked against the adoption of a two-third majority.

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