Lawan, “power” of Senate gavel and use of ‘Division’

A very common part of the proceedings of a parliament is the echo of words like “aye” and “nay”.

Just hearing phrases like “those in favour, say aye” or “those against, say nay”, one could easily guess that it is the plenary session of either the Senate or the House of Representatives. It is one of the ways the lawmakers vote during such proceedings.

Voting is a vital part of deliberations by the lawmakers. It marks the end of discussion on a topic. No issue can be concluded or resolved without the voting exercise.

In Nigeria’s National Assembly, there are different methods of voting; the voice vote, electronic voting and the division method – mostly done verbally or by signing in a register.

Order 72 of the Senate Standing Rule prescribes that “the modes of voting in the Senate shall be: a) by voice vote b) signing a register in a division or c) through electronic voting device installed in the Senate.”

After the vote, the Senate President or Chairman of the chamber rules in favour of the side with the most votes and in the case of a voice vote, in favour of the loudest voices.

The voice vote is the primary system adopted by the…

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