Southsouth joins race for Senate President

March 3, 2019
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As the race for the leadership of the Ninth National Assembly begins, different geopolitical zones are advancing reasons they should produce the next Senate President.

Before the elections, there were speculations that former Akwa Ibom State Governor Senator Godswill Akpabio was being considered for the position, but the former Minority leader was not re-elected.

A source said under the current arrangement, the Northwest occupies the position of President, the Southwest takes the position of the Vice President, the Northcentral and the North East are occupying the position of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

He said: “If you look at the current arrangement, the Southeast is occupying the position of the Deputy Speaker, even though he is not a member of the APC, while the Southwest again has the position of Deputy Speaker.

“In all these, it is only the Southsouth that has not been accommodated as they have been completely alienated. There was the argument in 2015 that there was no ranking Senator from the Southsouth. Now, there are two ranking Senators from the zone. They are Francis Alimikhena and Ovie Omo Agege.

“The Southsouth should be allowed to produce the Senate President, while the Speaker should go to the North Central. The position of Deputy Senate President should go to the Northeast, while the Southeast takes the position of Deputy Speaker.

“It is their thinking in the Presidency that since the President is from the Northwest and the Vice President from the South West, the four senior principal offices in the National Assembly should go to the other four zones. in other words, nobody from these two zones should be in contention for these positions.”

The source said unlike 2015 when the President did not secure 25 percent in majority of the states in the Southsouth, President Buhari was able to muster the required 25 percent in almost all the states in the zone.

He said: “There is no way President Buhari can finish an eight year tenure of two terms without the Southsouth occupying any of the six senior positions in government. That will be grossly unfair to the zone. So, the thinking is that the Senate President should come from the Southsouth.”

Ranking Senators from the Northcentral and North east are already eyeing the position of Senate President with Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan among the top contenders.

It is not however clear what process will throw up the next Senate President, but a senior member of the National Working Committee (NWC) told The Nation that the party has learnt from its mistakes of 2015 and would get involved in the process of selecting the leadership of the National Assembly.

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