A group of protesters under the aegis of Advocates for Good Governance (AGG) on Wednesday barricaded the main entrance of the National Assembly in protest of perceived “plans to elect leaders of the 9th Assembly via secret ballot process.”
Leader of the protesters, Duro Meseko, also alleged that the leadership of the 8th Assembly had perfected plans to select leaders who will constitute legislative cog in the wheel of progress of President Muhammadu Buhari.
They carried placards which read “No to secret ballots in NASS election,” “Enough of this secrecy in NASS,” “We want open ballot,” among others, the protesters numbering hundreds, demanded the use of open voting in the election of leaders of 9th Assembly.
Duro said, “We are dismayed by information that the leadership of the 9th Assembly would be elected through a secret ballot process.
“More worrisome is the fact that the leadership of the 8th Assembly has perfected plans to select leaders who will constitute legislative cog in the wheel of progress of President Buhari.
“We demand open ballot or voice vote during the election of new leadership of the National Assembly, to give confidence and trust to all Nigerians,” the protesters demanded.
They recalled “resistance by all Nigerians to the third term agenda of former President Olusegun Obasanjo,” assuring that they would repeat same to ensure that leaders of the 9th Assembly were elected through an open, transparent process.
In a similar development, protesting Shiites forced the House of Representatives to abruptly end its sitting on Wednesday.
Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, announced that the protesters, members of the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) crashed into the first gate of the National Assembly.
IMN have held regular protests to demand the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who was arrested along with his wife in Zaria, Kaduna State, in December 2015.
The IMN members were said to have overpowered security operatives before breaking down the first gate. Shouts of “Allah Akbar” rented the air after the aggrieved protesters gained entry into the complex.
They advanced towards the second gate, which lead to the chambers but were stopped by their leaders who appealed to them not to proceed further.
At this point the policemen who had fled also joined to make entreaties to the mob.