All 44 senators and the 118 members of the House of Representatives elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have begun a marathon meeting on the leadership of the incoming Ninth National Assembly.
Another issue on the agenda of the gathering that dragged into the night was the contentious voting method.
A very ranking national official of the PDP told The Guardian yesterday that the caucus would insist on the secret voting module as stipulated in the current Senate Standing Rule.
The meeting came just as a document with President Muhammadu Buhari’s signature and presidential seal leaked yesterday in Abuja.
The document, according to sources in the office of the Clerk of the National, Mohammed Ataba Sani Omolori, was authentic.
The proclamation was to be made on June 11, automatically signifying the inauguration of the next assembly.
However, the presidency was unable to confirm the genuineness of the document as at press time.
In trying to seek confirmation to the text, a senior aide to the president said he was not in a position to speak on the matter.
The aide would rather prefer that all entreaties on the matter be channelled to the assistant in charge of National Assembly matters.
And the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly matters (Senate), Solomon Ita-Enang, when accosted by reporters, feigned ignorance.
He, however, promised to find out and provide information on the document later, a promise he never fulfilled at the time of filing in this report.
Besides, a member of the National Assembly has condemned the secrecy surrounding the proclamation matter.
He claimed that the presidency was engaging in what he called a hide and seek game because it had “motive to circumvent the constitution and due process in the election of the National Assembly leadership.”
The leaked document, titled “Proclamation for the holding of the first session of the Ninth National Assembly”, reads:
“Whereas it is provided in Section 64(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) that the person elected as President shall have power to issue a proclamation for the holding of the first session of the National Assembly immediately after his being sworn-in.
“Now, therefore, I, Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in exercise of the powers bestowed upon me by Section 64 (3) aforesaid and of all other powers enabling me in that behalf, hereby proclaim that the first session of the Ninth National Assembly shall hold at 10:00am on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 in the National Assembly, Abuja.
“Given under my hand and the public seal of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at Abuja, this 30th day of May, 2019.”