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Akpabio, Kalu, others begin battle for Senate presidency
From: Agency Report
Mon, 6 Mar 2023   ||   Nigeria,

Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly in June, some senators-elect have begun lobbying for the presidency of the upper chamber.
Aspirants for the top Senate and House of Representatives positions are expected to start declaring interest in their choice positions once the National Assembly resumes from election break on March 14.
Apart from the senate presidency, other positions that will be filled include the speaker of the House of Representatives and deputy senate president as well as the principal offices.
The principal officers are leaders of the majority and minority caucuses, which are largely based on membership configuration in a chamber.
They include the majority leader, deputy majority leader, majority or chief whip, the deputy whip, minority leader, deputy minority leader, minority whip and deputy minority whip. These 10 men and women steer the affairs of each of the Senate and the House.
According to the parliamentary tradition, ranking members – lawmakers serving two or more terms form the leadership of the parliament.
The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners in Abuja on Saturday that the Senators-elect would receive their certificates of return on Tuesday, while their House of Representatives counterparts would get theirs on Wednesday.
So far, according to the INEC chair, the All Progressives Congress won 57 senatorial seats, the Peoples Democratic Party won 29, the Labour Party got six, while the New Nigeria Peoples Party and Social Democratic Party got two each.
On the other hand, the All Progressives Grand Alliance and Young Progressive Party got one seat each.
In the House of Representatives, the APC garnered 162 from the 360 seats, PDP got 102, LP, 34 seats, NNPP 18, APGA four, SDP and ADC got two each, while YPP won one seat.
Findings by The PUNCH indicated that lobbying for the principal offices had begun in earnest with the parties and the senators-elect working to prevent a repeat of the 2015 experience where Senator Bukola Saraki was elected as the Senate president.
A majority of the APC senators, including the party’s preferred candidate, Ahmed Lawan were at a meeting with the APC leadership and the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) when Saraki was elected unanimously by the 57 senators present at the session.
Notable individuals who have shown interest in being president of the 10th Senate include Senators-elect Ali Ndume (Borno South), Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Orji Uzoh Kalu (Abia), Jibrin Barau (Kano) and Mohammed Sani Musa (Niger), among others.
Ndume, who contested for the presidency of the 9th Senate against Danjuma Goje and Lawan, confirmed to The PUNCH on Sunday that he was also in the race for the leadership of the red chamber.
He stated, “Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Orji Uzoh Kalu (Abia), Jibrin Barau (Kano) and Mohammed Sani Musa (first-timer from Niger) have contacted me on the post.
 “I am reliably informed that Abdulaziz Yari (first-timer from Zamfara) is also interested, but he has not contacted me. But you should know that I am also in the race; so place preference on me in your report,” the ranking Senator said jokingly.
 He said there could be more, but noted that those he mentioned were the ones who had expressed interest in the position.
When contacted, Barau told our correspondent that he was in the race. “Yes, I am in the race. I am contesting the Senate Presidency. Wish me well. “
In his response, Kalu’s media Aide, Emeka Nwala said that his principal was interested in the Senate Presidency but was testing the waters.
 He said, “Let’s wait and see how they want to zone it. My principal is interested. Who wouldn’t have an interest, everyone has an interest in it. We are just waiting to see how the zoning would go.”
 Also, the media aide to Senator Akpabio, Ani Ekong, said he couldn’t give an emphatic answer as he had not been in touch with his principal since the conclusion of the senatorial election.
However, the media aide to Lawan, Ola Awoniyi said he wasn’t aware of such moves by his superior.
The media aide to the Senator representing Osun East, in Osun State, Mr Sam Progress, said no one had contacted his principal, Senator Francis Fadahunsi.
He however said that based on pre-election arrangements of the ruling party, the next senate president may come from the South-East.
According to him, “Those interested in becoming President of the Senate may want to wait till after all postponed elections are held before they come out fully. But officially, no one has contacted him (Fadahunsi).”
But a source close to a Senator-elect from Osun State, who preferred anonymity, said “a former governor from the South-East eyeing the seat of the senate president had contacted our newly elected lawmaker.”
Although another source mentioned a former Edo State governor and senator-elect, Adam Oshiomhole as one of those interested in the plum position, his media aide, Victor Oshioke said there were no such moves.
He said, “You can’t even begin to talk about lobbying for the position as the senate has not been inaugurated. Also, the certificate of return will be given to them on Tuesday so we have to wait and see.’’


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