TRACKING>>The All Progressives Congress has insisted on open ballot for the election of principal officers for the Ninth National Assembly, which is contrary to the usual practice of secret ballot.
The insistence came even as the opposition Peoples Democratic Party argued that the election should be secret ballot to safeguard the independence of lawmakers in choosing their leaders.
The APC National Working Committee has zoned the Senate President to the North East, but the party went ahead to ignore others and endorse Senator Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North) for the position.
Senators Ali Ndume and Danjume Gone from Borno and Gombe states, respectively, have resolved to contest against the wish of the party leadership.
The APC national leadership had also zoned the position of the Speaker to the South West and endorsed Femi Gbajabiamila from Lagos for the position. But some lawmakers from North Central are protesting against the decision. The opposition members are waiting to take advantage of the discordant tunes to elect their preferred candidates against the wish of the ruling party.
They have therefore insisted that the secret ballot be used in electing the principal officers of the National Assembly to guarantee the independence of the lawmakers in choosing their leaders.
But speaking with The Punch in Abuja, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, challenged the PDP to declare where it stood on the election of principal officers and stop seeking unnecessary attention on a matter for the ruling party.
He said, “That is the extent to which they (PDP) are democratic. Why secret ballot? What are they afraid of? That they cannot stand by what they believe in and for the public to know where they stand.
“Secret ballot is not known to any sanitary democratic practice. It is only people with hidden agenda that look for secret ballot anywhere. If you believe in something you should be able to stand for it.”
He added, “We understand that the PDP has never stood for anything good; so, we know why they want secret ballot.But in any case, what we are doing as the ruling party and a majority party and the party that has the responsibility to superintend over the affairs of the National Assembly is kept under wraps. On the day of the election, the nation will get to see what the majority represents.”