9th Senate: Battle for Leadership positions heats up
..As North East, South East, South South eye Senate Presidency ...Eight South West Senators bid for Deputy Senate President ...Fresh Twist Senate as Gaya eyes DSP Position
The race for the Senate leadership in the forthcoming 9th Senate formally got underway on Thursday following the receipt of certificate of returns by elected Senators of the new Assembly.
The lawmakers utilised the opportunity of the reunion in Abuja to kick start their plans to contest top positions in the 9th Senate.
While the North East appears to be leading the race for the Senate presidency of the incoming Senate, lawmakers of the ruling All Progressives Congress from the North Central, South South and the South East are also inducting interest in the plum hub.
But the lawmakers also utilised the opportunity of the Abuja gathering to raise alliances which will set the tone for the intense battle for top jobs early in June.
It was gathered that Senator Benjamen Uwajumogu from Imo state and Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State are the likely grants from the South East, while Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and Francis Alimi khena are the likely entrants from the South South.
But sources said that the candidates from the South South and South East won’t object to the position of Deputy Senate President.
The main contenders for the Senate President Position however remains the incumbent Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, who was favoured by the Apc for the job in 2015, Former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume and chairman of the Senate Committee in Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje.
Lawan had flagged off consultations among the Senators, raised a contact team and has been reaching individual senator.
He was said to have learnt from his 2015 experience where Senate President Bukola Saraki stole the show from under his nose because he earlier flagged off wide consultations.
“It appears that Lawan’s campaign is gathering support among senators-elect,” said a lawmaker who said however that it is too early to conclude.”
But the battle for number two position is gathering more than little storm already.
The South West appears the key zone gunning for this seat though there have appeared some indications that Senator Omo-Agege from the South South is already lobbying for that slot.
Sources however revealed that no fewer than eight of the South West lawmakers elect who are ranking Senators have already indicated interest.
The Senators-elect who are seeking the Senate number two position include former Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Solomon Adeola, Ibikunle Amosun, Fatai Buhari, Ajayi Boroffice and former Senate Committee chairman on Interior, Senator Lekan Mustapha.
It was gathered that the eight lawmakers have flagged off consultations in a bid to secure the backing of their colleagues for the number one spot.
Sources said that though the APC has a majority that can make it produce the Senate President, the consultations have been going on across political parties, with many APC senators-elect reaching out to the colleagues of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well.
The race for the Senate number two position also took another twist on Thursday following the decision of Senator Kabiru Gaya ( APC Kano South) from North West to join the race.
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Senator Gaya who declared his intension on Thursday at the International Conference Centre (ICC) , after collecting his certificate of return as Senator-elect from Kano South into the 9th Senate , told journalists that his aspiration is driven by mass appeal.
He is returning to the senate for the fourth time.
He said: “I thank the Almighty Allah who granted me the grace of being elected into the senate for the fourth time.”
“As regards the leadership composition of the 9th Senate, majority of my colleagues are mounting pressure on me to run for the position of Deputy Senate President which I want to use this opportunity to announce that I’m running for the position being one the most ranking senators in the 9th Senate.”
He, however , added that his ambition for the position will be determined by permission t expected to be granted to him by the presidency and the party.