By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
The March 28 presidential and National Assembly elections took a toll on the Senate leadership as the bulk of the principal officers of the Senate was swept away. Only two officers – Senate President David Mark and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu – remain.
The Senate President and deputy escaped the tsunami suffered by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the hands of the All Progressives Congress, APC, but the duo may not be happy going by the unfolding events as the ruling party will be in the minority in the 8th Senate.
At the moment, the APC has about 60 senators-elect, while the PDP has 49 even though one from Delta State is still in contention as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has declared the election in Edo South inconclusive.
Apart from Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, the Senate Leader, whose state government and the party hierarchy in the state, Cross River, made spirited efforts to stop him from coming back to the Senate for the fourth time, other principal officers of the ruling party that picked the party’s primary ticket were defeated by the opposition APC, which, going by the announced result by the INEC, will form the next leadership of the Senate.
The Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Abdul Ningi, who has been in the National Assembly for over twelve years starting from the House of Representatives, was defeated by his APC challenger in his Bauchi Central Senatorial District, while the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Bello Hayatu Gwarzo, representing Kano North, who also has been in the National Assembly since 1999, had his hope of coming back terminated by the APC opponent. The Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Hosea Ayoola Agboola, from Oyo North, was also not lucky, as his hope to come back to the senate was dashed by the opposition party.
But the opposition APC, which seems to have upper hand in the election, at the last count with about 60 senators, only lost one principal officer, the Senate Minority Whip, Senator, Ganiyu Solomon who contested the APC governorship primary in Lagos State and lost. The Senate Minority Leader, George Akume, from Benue North West, the Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Senator Ahmad Rufa’i Sani, Zamfara West, and the Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Ibrahim Abu, Katsina South all smiled home to victory.
With the result, Mark and Ekweremadu have no role to play in the 8th Senate and may likely come down from the highly exalted seat as presiding officers, unless if there is a miracle, or dramatic turn of events.
One of the ranking senators, who started from the House of Representatives and a PDP member that was denied the Senate return ticket by his state governor, was full of praises to God for being spared the embarassment of losing the March 28 poll.