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10th Senate Presidency: A Straight Fight Between Akpabio and Yari

All efforts by President Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress to micro-zone 10th Senate’s presiding officers positions to the duo of Senators Godswill Akpabio and Barau Jibrin by preventing others from contesting as Senate President and Deputy Senate President on the day of inauguration on Tuesday, June 13, appear to have failed, reports Sunday Aborisade

The absence of Senator-elect and former governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari; the Director General of his campaign organisation, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim and one of his supporters, Senator Elisha Abbo, at a meeting between President Bola Tinubu and all the elected senators for the 10th Senate last Thursday, has set the stage for serious contest for the presiding officers positions on the floor of the Red Chamber during its inauguration on Tuesday, June 13.

Contrary to the zoning arrangements of the All Progressives Congress, a formidable team comprising Yari as the arrowhead, Senators Orji Uzor Kalu, Osita Izunaso and Sani Musa had intensified the push for supremacy against the camp of the APC anointed candidature of Godswill Akpabio who had been endorsed for the position of Senate President and Barau Jibrin as Deputy Senate President.

President Bola Tinubu and the National Working Committee of the APC had done everything possible to ensure that there was no contest for the position of the Senate presiding officers but rather than toeing their lines, the aggrived aspirants who were not among the chosen two, formed an alliance.

Yari, Kalu, Izunaso and Musa, after protesting the zoning formula without the desired result, insisted on going ahead to contest the seat against the party’s choice.

Consequently, the Yari’s group formed the Senate Democratic Caucus while the Akpabio’s team adopted the name Senate Stability Group.

The two camps are claiming to have secured the required number of lawmakers to win the Senate presidency.

To win the election, candidates require a simple majority of 55 out of the total 109 senators.

After shunning a meeting with the President on Thursday, Yari hosted his group now known as the Senate Democratic Caucus at a popular hotel in the nation’s capital to unveil who would be his deputy between the trio of Kalu, Izunaso and Musa.

Sources at the meeting confided in THISDAY that the race for the position of deputy Senate President has been narrowed down to Kalu and Izunaso because Musa is a Muslim from the North.

There was no clear picture of who had been eventually picked as of the time of putting this report together at the weekend.

Meanwhile the anointed candidates of the APC, Akpabio and Jibrin were also said to have held a strategic meeting with their team known as the Stability Group which had Senator Ali Ndume as the Director General.

Details of the meeting were still sketchy as of the time of filling this report but it may not be unconnected with the fact that they had started perfecting strategies to ensure that they defeat the Yari’s group following the inability of Tinubu and the APC to prevent double nomination on the floor of the Senate during the inauguration.

A Senator-Elect from Kano South,  Suleiman  Kawu Sumaila, in an interview with THISDAY, gave an insight as to why some elected lawmakers moved against the decision of the party to micro-zone the presiding officers positions to individuals.

He also explained that the decision had some consequences going by his past experiences at the National Assembly in the last 20 years.

Kawu said, “ Do you know how Aminu Masari was elected in 2003 as the Speaker of the House of Representatives? That was 20 years ago when I was in the House on the ticket of the All Nigeria People’s Party, we were almost 90 together with the minority parties we were not up to 150. The party then, the Peoples Democratic Party, had the power.

“They had the majority, we were not up to 150. The Action Congress members were less than 40. Therefore when they were presenting the candidate they selected some of us from the minority and the majority.

“Our leader, Ahmad Lawan was there. When they zoned the position to North West, then the North West micro-zoned the position to Katsina, and members from Katsina and the stakeholders in Katsina State, came up with Aminu Masari and the North West presented  Masari to the House. That was what happened in 2007.

“In the Senate then, the current Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, disagreed with the position of the PDP to micro-zone the Senate President position to Senator David Mark hence there was second nomination on the floor during the inauguration.

“The arrangement in the House of Reps succeeded because the PDP had the majority seats.

“However, in 2007, knowing fully well that the minority were not up to 100,  without recourse to the minority, the PDP produced Patricia Etteh but many members-elect then, rejected the selection and instead, decided to go for Dimeji Bankole against the party’s choice then.

“In 2011,  the PDP zoned the position of the Speakership to the South West and Muraina Ajibola emerged as the party’s choice but the zone decided to pick Mulikat Adeola Akande.

“We knew that it was the business of the 360 members to elect Speaker and we insisted.

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