Senate Presidency: How To Stop A Dark Horse

The battle for Senate President is in top gear, it was learnt yesterday.

Front runners for the exalted seat, including Senator Ahmed Lawan, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, Senator Mohammed Danjuma Goje and Senator Abdullahi Adamu, are said to be on top of their game.

Others are expected to join the race in the days ahead.

A source said the front runners have started reaching out to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators.

The source noted that with about 66 new senators out of 109 coming to the upper chamber, the battle would be tough.

He said if the APC failed to put its house in order before the inauguration of the 9th Senate in June , “the scenario of June 9th, 2015 when out going Senate President Bukola Saraki emerged Senate President with the active help of PDP senators would repeat itself.”

He also listed Lawan ( Yobe North), Ndume ( Borno South ), Goje (Gombe Central) and Adamu (Nasarawa West) as the leading contenders in the race for the seat of Senate Presidency.

According to the source, “Saraki factor in who takes over from him as Senate President should not be over looked.”

He added that “it is obvious that most of the re-elected senators are loyalists of Saraki. You cannot over look that factor. It may play out in the choice of who emerges as Senate President. Already, high wired politics is going on among the top contenders. People are reaching out and wooing both old and incoming senators.”

The source, who said that PDP senators must not be allowed to exploit any division among APC senators, noted that “the battle is still very much open and up for grab.”

On PDP factor in the Senate, he said with APC 65 senators and PDP 41, the opposition party must not be underrated.

He said:“Anybody PDP senators with their expected block vote back for the race will carry the day.”

The APC and the Presidency, he said, should consider all possibilities before endorsing any senator for the top job.

For him, “The APC should conduct proper and indebt profiling of the contenders. Their strength and weaknesses should be considered. Their track records are likely to come to play in the choice of who becomes the Senate President.”

To prevent a dark horse from emerging Senate President, the APC must not allow all comers affair, Chairman Senate Committee on Labour and Productive, Senator Abu Ibrahim, has said.

Senator Ibrahim told reporters in Abuja that APC should immediately meet on the matter.

The Katsina South Senator said APC should set in motion the process of endorsing its candidate for the Senate President to avoid what happened in 2015 when Saraki emerged Senate President against the Party’s position.

Ibrahim is upbeat that the APC will do what is necessary in the interest of the party.

Results of the last National Assembly elections released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), shows that the APC won 65 of the 109 (about 59%) senatorial seats in the country, leaving the PDP with 41 senatorial seats (37%) and Young Progressives Party’s (YPP) one seat (1%).

The APC secured 61 seats in the Red Chambers in 2015 before the PDP infiltrated its ranks to secure the office of the Deputy President of the Senate for Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

A report in this paper at the weekend quoted a source as saying: “The horse-trading to lead the Senate and the House of Representatives has begun.

“It is going to be a tough contest because all the candidates are ranking. For example, Ndume has been in the National Assembly for 16 years with eight years spent in the House and another eight years in the Senate. Lawan has been a Senator since 2007 with Adamu and Goje joining in 2011.

“Some governors and APC stalwarts are gambling with the choice of Governor Ibikunle Amosun to lead the Senate as a bosom friend of the President. They have linked the suspension of the governor to the plot to install him as Senate President.

“This jostling for power is despite of the fact that the APC is yet to define its zoning or power sharing formula. Those aspiring to lead the National Assembly are banking on the 2015 formula of the APC, which ceded the Senate Presidency to the Northeast and the Speaker to the Southwest, before the President of the Senate, Speaker Dogara and some APC lawmakers revolted.

“The lack of zoning formula made ex-Governor Abdullahi Adamu from Nasarawa State in the Northcentral to join the race. As the chairman of the Parliamentary Support Group which resisted the outgoing Senate President to save President Buhari, he believes he should lead the Senate.

Responding to a question, the source said: “All the candidates are already lobbying not only to have the Senate presidency and House Speaker zoned to their areas but to be anointed.

“Unless it is carefully managed, the Senate may witness a repeat of the 2015 crisis which PDP took advantage of.”

“The only challenge APC is facing is about likely imposition of the Senate President and the Speaker. Most of the candidates want the race left open equitably.

“This is why some APC leaders are pleading with President Muhammadu Buhari and party leaders to meet and work out an equitable power sharing module.”

The source added: “I think in the next two months, the game will be more interesting. If Dogara’s candidacy does not fly, PDP might sponsor another ranking member from the Southwest to be the Speaker.”

A source in government said: “President Buhari has really not shown interest now on those who will lead the National Assembly. Maybe he has a mindset but he is yet to discuss with party leaders.”

Lawan is spending his 20h year in the National Assembly having being elected into the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003 before becoming a Senator.

Set up zoning mechanism for NASS leadership to avoid 2015 scenario, Nabena tells APC

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Yekini Nabena, urged the leadership of the party to zone and select preferred principal officers of the incoming 9th National Assembly.

He added: “The Peoples Democratic Party has lost the presidential election and they have now adopted a plan B from their infamous Dubai strategy meeting.

“The plan is to hijack the incoming National Assembly leadership by repeating their heinous coup in the previous Assembly.

“The APC must prevent a repeat of a situation where despite our overwhelming majority in the outgoing 8th Senate and House of Representatives, its leadership was hijacked by saboteurs and their opposition PDP collaborators.”

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