North-East, North-Central battle for senate presidency

Posted by News Express | 21 March 2019 | 1,174 times

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•Nigerian Senate Chamber

 Politicians and lawmakers from the North East and North Central geo-political zones are mounting pressure on the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to allow them to produce the Senate president for the ninth assembly.

According to Daily Trust, ranking APC senators-elect including former governors are pushing for the party to zone the seat and other leadership positions to their areas.

Sources said yesterday that the delay in zoning the leadership positions might not be unconnected with Saturday’s supplementary polls in five states which the APC and the Presidency are very much interested in the outcome.

Some senators spoken to, said failure of the party to zone the positions would lead to a repeat of  the  2015  episode that resulted in a major crisis of confidence when Dr. Bukola Saraki was elected Senate President with the help of PDP senators while Senator Ike Ekweremadu of PDP emerged as his deputy.

To avoid the same scenario, they said APC should zone the post to either North East or North Central even as senators-elect from the two zones are working hard to outdo each other.

An APC senator-elect from the North East told Daily Trust last night, that “The outgoing Senate President is from the North Central and we urge the party to zone it this time to the North East.”

Daily Trust reports that that APC top gun Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is pushing for zoning of the key posts, just as he did in 2015. He added however that Tinubu also wants his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu to become the Deputy Senate President.

Saraki, Dogara ‎move to install successors

Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara are also reportedly rooting to install those who will succeed them during the inauguration of the coming 9th Assembly, according to Daily Trust.

While Saraki lost his Kwara Central Senatorial seat to Ibrahim Yayaha Oloriegbe of APC, hence he would not be in the 9th Senate, Dogara has secured his reelection, but his new party, PDP, has far below the required numbers to make him retain his seat.

Sources told Daily Trust in Abuja last night that the duo are now making frantic efforts to influence the emergence of their successors.

It was learnt that Saraki is using his PDP senators-elect to negotiate the seat of the Deputy Senate president for the party like he did in 2015 when he allowed Ike Ekweremadu to emerge as his deputy, while he was in APC.

It was also learnt that the PDP may present Ekweremadu once again, or nominate another senator from its fold as deputy Senate president, should the plan sail through.

‎”Saraki has vowed to make the major person that worked for him to emerge as Senate President succeed him in June. That’s what’s on ground now. PDP senators meet almost every day to review the issue,” one of the sources said.

“What they want is to have someone in APC that ‎would guarantee them the seat of the Deputy Senate President so that they would come en bloc and back the person. They’re working towards a certain former governor,” the source said.

Top among the contenders for Senate President are Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan (Yobe), Mohammed Ali Ndume (Borno), Mohammed Danjuma Goje (Gombe) and Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa).

However, it was learnt yesterday that Borno State Governor and Senator-elect Kashim Shettima is also being considered for the Senate presidency.

Meanwhile, some lawmakers-elect have cautioned the leadership of APC against zoning presiding officers’ positions to individuals, to avoid a repeat of 2015 episode.

The lawmakers advised their party to zone the positions to geo-political zones, and not individuals, as being speculated.

A ranking senator said the zoning of positions to individuals would be tantamount to imposition of leadership on the parliament.

“If they do that, it will generate crisis and it won’t favour the party, at the end of the day. Positions should only be zoned to geo-political zones and not individuals.

“Let the senators from that zone in consultation with our colleagues on the floor, elect who to lead us, so that we can have the feeling that we elect our own leaders and not imposition from outside,” he said.

Speaking on the alleged plans by  PDP to support the emergence a senator from the North East as Senate president, to enable  Senator Ike Ekweremadu retain his seat, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu,  said the party would determine the leadership of the National Assembly.

On Tuesday, the APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yekini Nabena, said the outgoing Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and the minority PDP caucus was planning to decide the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives in the 9th National Assembly.

Nabena, in an interview with journalists in Abuja, said Senate President and the PDP had devised plans to ensure that their loyalists took control of the legislative arm of government.

The party’s national officer, who called for urgent intervention by the APC leadership, advised the ruling party to urgently roll out the zoning arrangements to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2015.

Excerpted from a Daily Trust report

Source: News Express

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