Senate Presidency: Panic As APC Adopts Consensus Candidate Today | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Senate Presidency: Panic As APC Adopts Consensus Candidate Today

Posted: Jun 4, 2015 at 12:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Ignatius Okorocha


There are palpable tensions in the camps of supporters of the two prominent contenders in the race for the presidency of the Senate as the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) draws up criteria that would be used to determine the best candidate for the post of Senate President during the inauguration of the Eight Senate.

Recall that the NWC at its meeting held with President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday night had listed certain critical which the next senate president must possess.

The meeting had agreed that the party’s candidate for the post must come from the geopolitical zone with the second highest number of votes after the North West, during the Presidential Election held on March 28.

The party leadership also agreed that the next senate president must not have any corruption charges hanging on his or her neck and should be one of the most ranking senators in the current Fourth Republic.

A senator who attended the meeting told our correspondent that the leadership of the party was mandated to, within three days, present the most eligible aspirant, as consensus candidate for the post, based on the listed criteria, during inauguration, next week.

The two gladiators currently contesting the office of the Senate President are, Senators Bukola Saraki (Kwara Central); and Ahmad Lawan ( Yobe North ).

Two groups, ”Like Minds Senators” and the “Senate Unity Forum” who were supporting the candidature of Saraki and Lawan respectively, had claimed to have secured the endorsement of enough numbers of senators to win the race.

While the Saraki camp compiled a list containing the names of 34 APC senators -elect,  the Lawan loyalists claimed that 40 APC senators -elect, had endorsed the Yobe senator,  as their own consensus candidate( without concrete evidence).

The development crated serious confusion because there are just 59 APC senators-elect, expected to be inaugurated in the eight senate following the death of Ahmed Zannah ( Borno North ), last month.

Some elected senators who spoke with our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday, expressed fears that the decision of the APC to use criteria, considered strange to the rules of the Senate and constitution of the country, could be counterproductive.

The party had planned to announce its preferred candidate between Lawan and Saraki, during a meeting with the senators -elect on Thursday (today), in Abuja.

But those who reacted to the issue urged the leadership of the party to allow the most popular aspirant to emerge through due process that would be free, fair, credible and generally acceptable to all concerned.

Reacting on the development, coordinator of the like minds senators-elect, Dino Melaye, cautioned the NWC against too much interference in the affairs of the senate because the upper legislative chamber is guided by rules.

Melaye said, “The NWC is there to offer advice and not to determine those who will contest leadership positions on the floor of the senate. The constitution of Nigeria and the rules of the Senate are clear on how a senate president could emerge.