Nigeria: Lawan, Ndume Face-Off in Race for Nigeria's Senate Presidency

Photo: This Day
National assembly symbol.

The D-day is here when Nigeria's 109 senators-elect will choose their presiding officers who will pilot the affairs of the upper legislative chamber.

Constitutionally, the inauguration of a Senate is preceded by a proclamation by the Nigerian president. Having issued the proclamation last Thursday, the coast is now clear for election of the number three citizen of the country and his deputy.

The build up to the election has revealed fascinating power and interest plays.

It started with the candidacy of three ranking lawmakers: Ali Ndume, Ahmed Lawan and Kabiru Gaya but the latter withdrew some days ago.

However, even though the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) endorsed the candidacy of Mr Lawan, Mr Ndume has vowed to forge on with his ambition. On Tuesday morning, the main opposition party, PDP, declared support for Mr Ndume and asked all its senators-elect to vote for him.

Barring any last minute decision, the race is expected to be between the two today.

For Deputy Senate President, only one candidate, Ovie Omo-Agege, representing Delta Central seems to be in the race. Mr Omo-Agege was on Sunday endorsed by the APC for the position forcing other contestants to shelve their ambitions.

So far, no candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has declared intention to run for either of the two positions. But with the PDP supporting Mr Ndume, a deal may have been reached with him on the Deputy Senate Presidency seat.

The winners among the candidates will be revealed in some hours' time after an election which is scheduled to hold by 10 a.m.

Although the secret ballot system is on the most recent voting rules of the Senate, a court on Monday asked the National Assembly to return to its 2011 rules which provides for open ballot.

The National Assembly management has, however, not announced what mode the election will take following the court order.

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