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The President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives and their deputies in the ninth National Assembly, may be elected through secret ballot.

Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC Kano South), who dropped the hint in Abuja Thursday, said the 2015 Standing Rule used in electing the present four occupants of the positions remained valid.

Open ballot system was used in electing the officers in the Seventh Assembly in 2011.

Gaya, who spoke with journalists shortly after the plenary session, said there is little time for the lawmakers in the two chambers to scale through the procedures needed to effect a change in the rule.

The lawmaker’s position was in response to calls for the open ballot system, by some interest groups within and outside the National Assembly.

But Gaya stressed that the 2015 Senate Rule remained the only valid document for the purpose of electing the principal officers.

He however said a member in the Senate could move a motion for the amendment of the existing rule before the expiration of the life of the present Assembly and that the procedure must follow due process.

Gaya said, “I am a member of the National Assembly. And we were able to do these rules together. We cannot change it now unless a member of the Senate moves for that change.

“If he moves for the change and somebody seconds it, the motion will be debated and the same thing goes for the House of Representatives.

“If there is discrepancy between the Senate and the House, we will set up a Conference Committee. And they will bring it to us to find a date to sit down and pass it. Can you do that in one month?”

Gaya, who is aspiring to be Deputy President of the Senate, said his aspiration is based on the fact that the Northwest zone where he comes from, recorded the highest votes for the governing APC.

He also stated that with 21 senators and about six million votes for the APC in the last presidential election, the Northwest deserved the position of deputy senate president.

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