8th Senate: North Central Challenges North East For Senate President Slot

The battle for the leadership of the 8th Senate is heating up as senators from the North Central zone have now joined in the battle to produce the Senate president for the 8th Assembly.
The election of the president of the Eighth Senate will take place on the 4th of June when the new assembly will be inaugurated.

With the majority attained by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 28th elections in the chamber, lawmakers of the APC will produce the Senate president, his deputy, Senate majority leader, deputy and the chief whip and deputy.

Contenders for the seat from the North Central include Senators Bukola Saraki, (Kwara), George Akume (Benue), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), while Ahmad Lawan (Yobe) is contending for the seat from North East.

The North East has been clamouring for the position with the argument that the North Central should not be in the struggle, having been in the saddle since 2007.

“It was time to look elsewhere and, in the spirit of cohesion and sense of unity, zone the post to the North east which has been left out in the cold since 2007,” one of the senators from North East stated.

Another source within the North East Senate caucus told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that the number of ranking senators and number of senators returned from the two geo-political zones are the highest in the chamber, another reason why the zone should be given the seat.

The source said, “In the March 28 Senate poll, the North central has 13 senators while the North east elected 14 senators. Out of the 13 senators from the North central, only six are ranking while in the North east, we have seven ranking senators.”

Already, high-level lobbying of the national leadership of the APC has commenced in line with the Senate Standing Rules (2011, as amended).

The Senate rules, which applied in June 2011 when Mark was re-elected as president, gives preference to any serving senator who is re-elected to the chamber.

Based on the ranking rule, the North East caucus has tipped chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Ahmad Lawan, for Senate president.

Senator Lawan was first elected into the House of Representatives in 2003 where he served two terms. In 2011, he was elected into the Senate and was re-elected on March 28.

However, while the Senate ranking rule favours Ahmad, the same rule also qualifies Senators Saraki and Akume for the position. Akume has been minority leader since 2011.

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