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Senate Presidency: S’West Senators Divided Over Candidate

Posted: May 13, 2015 at 7:35 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


By Ignatius Okorocha,



Amidst the disagreements and anxiety over the choice of who replaces Senator David Mark as President of the National Assembly’s upper chamber from next month, members of the South-West caucus are dividend on whether or not to support any of the four contenders.

The inability of the All Progressive Congress (APC) to agree on which zone would produce principal officers of the Senate may have given room for aspirants to openly carry their campaigns to the hallowed chamber of both chambers of the National Assembly.

Already, four contenders have signified interests in the nation’s number three position. They include former Kwara State Governor, Bukola Saraki; and former Benue State Governor, George Akume (from the North East) and Chairman of the Senate’s Public Account Committee, Ahmed Lawan; and Chairman, Senate Committee on MDGs, Mohammed Ali Ndume (North East).

Commenting on media reports that the caucus had adopted a particular candidate for the top job, a senator from one of the zons who preferred anonymity, told Daily Independent: “Our challenge is that while we read all these stories about supporting one of the candidates, none of us from the (zone) could say that even he, as a senator was put in the picture of what was going on

“We all waited patiently for this all along, because no one was talking to us on the matter. So, when we met last week, we agreed that yes, wherever the leadership of the party zones the senate presidency to, we will support. We were never unanimous at the meeting that we supported anybody. There was a division among us, and that made us to defer further discussions on the matter.

“I can say that out of the 18 senators from the South West, two from Ondo are not for the candidate some others wanted, the three from Ekiti are not for him, one from Lagos is not him, two from Ogun are not supporting him, one from Osun also does not support him, while another one from Oyo also does not support him too.

“So, if one may ask, where did the media get the story that South West senators have all endorsed a particular candidate, it is not true because we are yet to agree on the matter. So, even if the position is zoned to the north east, I can assure you that we can’t be unanimous on this matter,” he added.

Meanwhile, campaigns for the Senate Presidency on Tuesday almost marred proceedings  at the plenary, as supporters of various candidates made to swell their ranks.

Senators had walked into the chamber, prepared to begin clause by clause consideration of the Tobacco Bill slated in the Order Paper of day. But deliberations were temporarily suspended to enable the leadership address the rowdy atmosphere that overtook proceedings.

Having been specifically invited to take charge of situations in the Chamber, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over Tuesday’s session was forced to order that “all campaigns for Senate Presidency is hereby suspended until the end of proceedings.”

The call to restore sanity was made by Senator Chris Ngige, who was contributing to deliberations on the Tobacco Bill. He had to suspend his contribution, stressing that the attention of the Senate was being distracted by series of political movements by Senators from one seat to another within the chamber.

Ngige shouted: “Mr. President, please could you tell all these campaign coordinators to allow us treat this Bill. They are disrupting the chamber and we are not been allowed to give the Bill the utmost attention it deserved.”