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Senate presidency: Crisis hits North East Senate Caucus

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By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja

Even as the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, is yet to resolve the disagreement over the zoning of positions in the party, the North-East Caucus of the Senate has been hit by crisis over who emerges as its candidate for the Senate presidency.

Before now, the candidature of Senator Ahmad Lawan, from Yobe State, was getting the support of virtually most of his colleagues as he is allegedly backed by the outgoing leadership of the upper chamber..

It was gathered that Senate President David Mark has given full support to  Lawan taking over from him even against his kinsman, Senator George Akume, who some had claimed was one of the most qualified for the Senate presidency.

Lawan was said to be one of the die-hard supporters of the Senate President and that Mark will feel more comfortable seeing him (Lawan) as his successor than Akume, Senator Bukola Saraki or Mohammed Goje.

Akume and Saraki are from the North Central geo-political zone where the Senate presidency was initially said to have been zoned before the agitation from the North-East.

Besides, the national leader of  the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had reportedly given his backing to the Akume aspiration before the recent last-minute change of mind where he is reportedly supporting  Lawan who is allegedly the wife’s preferred candidate.

However, senators from the North-East, on Friday, dumped their own, Lawan,and said that for the time being, the seat had not been alloted to their zone, though they are still agitating for that.

It was gathered that the zone was more comfortable with Ndume or Goje for the plum position. Ndume, despite his alleged involvement in Boko Haram activity, is said to be a team player, very accessible and with good relationship with his colleagues.

He is also said to have an edge over his other colleagues from the zone having been one-time Minority Leader in the House of Representatives as well as coming from the state that had always been steadfast in the opposition party.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, the leader of North-East caucus senators, Goje said the caucus was appealing for the zoning of the highest position in the National Assembly to the North-East considering the special needs of this zone.

He said, “In other words, we resolved to call on the leadership of our party to formally zone the highest office of the National Assembly to our zone in view of our special circumstance.

“This caucus should  be allowed in consultation with the party leadership, other caucuses, zonal leaders, other stakeholders to nominate the senator suitable to occupy such an office which is zoned to our area”.

Meanwhile, a senator, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard on condition of anonymity, said the Senate will never allow external influence to decide who becomes the next Senate president and promised senators will fight it out with the last drop of their blood.

It was also gathered that some of the new senators are rooting for Saraki, Akume or Ndume as one told Sunday Vanguard that the allegation of arrogance and pomposity against Saraki was just political gimmick.

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