By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The scheming and political maneuvering for who emerges the Senate President of the 9th Session have intensifies especially with the failure of the incumbent, Dr Bukola Saraki to secure a return ticket to the red chamber. Saraki emerged the senate president in a controversial circumstance which did not go down well with his then party – All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari-led executive.
While many believed that this explains why there was much disharmony and disconnect between the Saraki-led 8th senate and Buhari-led executive, others would argue that the latter had neither clear cut economic nor political blue-print to enable it leave up to its expectation. In between the divide are those who hold the view that Nigeria and Nigerians would have fared better if all the laws passed by the out-going 8th session have been assented to for national interest rather than the needless power-tussle that led to the withholding of assent to most bills passed by the legislature by the executive.
Apparently, it is on account of the power play highlighted above that President Muhammadu Buhari, having found that his party, APC has 60 members majority out of the 105 senators so far elected, said that he would build mutual working relationship with the 9th National Assembly.
Recall that Buhari had hurriedly made similar comment which many said turned out not only to be false but also his undoing. Recall that during his swearing in on 29th May 2015, President Buhari said he is “for everybody and he is for nobody”. Political pundits believe this comment was the springboard that propelled Saraki to go ahead of the party in alliance with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to emerge as the Senate president.
Prior to president Buhari’s comment, lawmaker representing Delta central senatorial district, Senator Omo-Agege, told all who cared to listing that President Buhari would determine who becomes the next Senate President.
However, analysts are of the view that though the APC has won majority of the seats in the National Assembly to guarantee an effective control of the leadership of the 9th Session but the mistake of the 8th session may repeat itself going by how the party is polarized and how previous bigwigs were denied safe-landing with the way and manner the primaries of the party were conducted.
In any case, political gladiators are competing and contending to remain relevant and afloat ahead of the next election which comes up in 2023. So the politics of 2023 begins with the constitution of the 9th session and so who nominates who occupies what position matters a lot come June 2019 when the new national Assembly would be inaugurated and this factor will determine who becomes the next senate president.
Other factors that would shape who become next president are:
The ranking senators in the All Progressives Congress (APC) would want the Senate President to come from within them. And those who are seriously jostling for the juicy position include; Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North); former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume (Borno South); Chairman of Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central), and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West).
Former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu is one person who is busy expanding his political base beyond the south-west and still enjoys the support of some politicians in the party across the country. He would deploy his loyalists and try to influence who becomes next president of the senate. Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan still enjoys Tinubu’s support and may have his support as the next Senate President. However, it is believed that the cabals may not allow Tinubu have his way as a check on him ahead of 2023 when he may want to give a short at the presidency. It is believed that the cabal still wants power to remain in the North.
Former Vice President and the presidential candidate of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at the just concluded general election, Atiku Abubakar like Tinubu, has political loyalists who have secured tickets to be part of the 9th session and would queue behind any one he throw his support for. Though it is not clear how his case at the tribunal would be decided, Atiku as a political strategist would keep his eyes on the ball for the 2023 presidential race and would like to plant his supporters in strategic positions in the National Assembly.
Some political analysts believe that it is actually the PDP that has the joker that will decide who emerges the senate president. According to them, the APC in its usual internal wrangling will not have a common candidate for the position thus further splitting their vote and pave way for the emergence of PDP’s supported candidate as senate president. The PDP may also spring up surprise when it is time to elect the principal officers
There have been calls from different Zones for the Senate presidency. The south south has said it is there turn to produce the vice president while the north east is seriously making moves to have the position ceded to them. Former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume (Borno South) is not left out in the fight for the prime position. Also, Chairman of Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central), is another ranking senator who is positioning himself for the position of the senate President.