Lawmakers have described a recent call for open voting pattern as laughable.

As the race for the leadership of the ninth Senate gathers momentum, some senators-elect have kicked against alleged plans to reintroduce Open Voting Pattern (OVP).

The federal lawmakers, mostly from the main opposition, Peoples Democractic Party (PDP) said the OVP option is contrary to the open-secret system contained in the 2015 version of the Senate rule book.

“How can any group be agitating against what is already written in the Senate Rule Book which states that the Senate leadership will be elected through open secret ballot system,” said a lawmaker who craved anonymity.

Another senator said the secret ballot system is not an agenda of eight Senate adding that it is in line with international law practiced in many developed nations of the world.

He said recent agitation to change the voting pattern for the ninth National Assembly leadership will unnecessarily heat up the polity.

Also, some senators elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who pleaded anonymity expressed fears that the “continuous bullying and arm twisting” of senators-elect by the National Chairman of the ruling party, Adams Oshiomhole, by enforcing Senator Ahmad Lawan on lawmakers for the Senate Presidency may “eventually back fire”.

“It is laughable to call for open ballot voting in order to impose Lawan on lawmakers like a class captain”, he said.

“Let it be known that open secret ballot system is the standard system of voting in any civilized democracy, which will enable senators-elect vote their leaders without fear or intimidation” he added.

of the people shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

They made similar reference to Article 23 of the American Convention on Human Rights (the Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica) which grants every citizen of member states of the Organization of American States the right and opportunity “to vote and to be elected in genuine periodic elections, which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and by secret ballot that guarantees the free expression of the will of the voters”.

The lawmakers noted that Paragraph 7.4 of the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE, obligates the member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to “ensure that votes are cast by secret ballot or by equivalent free voting procedure, and that they are counted and reported honestly with the official results made public.”

The ruling APC had endorsed Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, for Senate Presidency and Femi Gbajabiamila for Speaker of the House of Representatives.

This has raised the suspicion of lawmakers that the clamour for open voting against secret ballot was “orchestrated by forces outside of the Senate who will stop at nothing to dictate its next leadership”.

 

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