Nigeria: Who Is Next Senate President As Battle of Wits Begins?

The Nigerian Senate (file photo).
28 February 2019

With the conduct of last Saturday's Presidential and National Assembly elections and the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the next stage of battle would be who becomes number three citizen of the country.

In the next couple of weeks and months, the nation would be saturated with stories and permutations as to who emerges the President of the Senate of the 9th National Assembly come June 8th, 2019.

Following the results released by INEC after the National Assembly election, the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, APC has the highest number of both new and old senators, with a total number of sixty-four Senators.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has a total of forty Senators, the Young Progressive Party, YPP has one Senator, bringing that to a total of one hundred and five Senators, with four yet to be declared in Imo, Taraba and Plateau States.

In determining who becomes the Presiding officers, this brings us to the factor that the Senate Rule allows only a ranking senator to be selected for this purpose and being that the APC has the majority, the candidate may come from within its caucus.

Another determining factor for clinching the position of Senate President is that out of 109 Senators, the person who has the highest number of votes becomes Senate President.

Top of the list of those believed to be in the contest is the present Senate leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, APC, Yobe North who was picked for the position by the APC caucus prior to the emergence of the Present Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki in 2015.

Senator Lawan who is loved by his colleagues, is seen as one who is well prepared for the position against the backdrop that in 2015, the North West Senators had adopted him as their preferred candidate for the position and the former Senate President, Senator David Mark had preferred him to Senator George Akume who was also interested then.

He is about the highest-ranking legislator in the Senate having been elected to the House of Representatives in 1999.

Another thing that would work in his favour is that in Yobe State where he comes from, other Senators are coming as fresh ones and age is also on his side, and he has the energy, vigour, and experience, just as a former contender for the position, Senator Akume has been kicked out of the Senate and will not be at the 9th Senate.

Another Senator who has been interested and still very much interested is former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Nasarawa West, and age may not be on his side as he is now seventy-two years and came to the Senate in 2011. What may work for him is that in his state, other Senators - elect are new especially with the coming of the present governor, Tanko Almakura.

The former Senate leader, Senator Ali Ndume, Borno South is also said to be eying the position.

It was gathered that the South-South would produce the Deputy Senate President and with the calculations, the present deputy Chief Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena, APC, Edo North is most suitable for the position following his experience, age and having served as a principal officer, he is already equipped for the position.

Though from the South-South, Senator Ovie Omo- Agege, Delta Central was reelected, he would be adequately compensated for being a very loyal supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari with a very juicy committee to chair.

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