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Senate Presidency: Intense Lobby, nocturnal meetings of APC serving senators, senators – elect

By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – AHEAD of the inauguration of the 9th Senate where the two presiding officers, the Senate President and the Deputy Senate President would emerge, there have been intense lobby and political intrigues since the Senators resumed on Tuesday.

Senators Elect, Eyinnaya Abaribe of Abia South(left) Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia North and Bala Naallah of Kebbi South during the presentation of certificate of return to the senators by INEC in Abuja yesterday Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan

The lawmakers resumed Plenary on Tuesday after the February 23 Presidential, National Assembly and March 9 Gubernatorial, State Houses of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory, FCT Area Council elections.

Now that the race for the Senate leadership has thickened, Senators-elect from across political party divide have started holding nocturnal meetings in the nation’s capital city, Abuja to decide the leadership structure as well as shape direction for the 9th Senate.

At the moment, the All Progressives Congress, APC has a majority of 65 Senators that would constitute the 9th Senate while the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has 37 Senators and the Young Progressive Party, YPP one Senator.

Even as the scheming, politicking and lobbying of members are on going as to who becomes the next Senate President, the APC leaders have not come up with a zoning formula to ascertain which of the six get political zones should produce the Senate President and the deputy.

At the moment, the North West has the President, President Muhammadu Buhari while the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo from the South West.

Part of the lobby was what played out at Enugu Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on Thursday night and into the early hours of yesterday when a parley was put in place for the Senators and Senators- elect to brainstorm.

At the meeting, a source told Vanguard that though the organizers repeatedly said it was a mere “dinner”; an exploratory meeting to cultivate friendship; it was more than that.

Vanguard gathered that there were enough political undertones to suggest that beyond what was on the surface, was an emerging powerful bloc; already rooting for Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, APC, Yobe North as the next Senate President.

Before now, the focus has been on Senators Ahmed Lawan ( APC Yobe North), Ali Ndume ( APC Borno South) and Danjuma Goje ( APC Gombe Central) and former Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu for the position of Senate President .

Ahmed Lawan was the only one among the heavy weight contenders at Thursday’s meeting between the ranking Senators and the new Senators.

It did not however take time for the suppressed motive to start emerging with Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Delta Central , coming closest to letting the cat out of the bag.

Moments later, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, Ondo Central who was one of the conveners gave out what was even a bigger clue when he said he likes calling Lawan his President.

At the moment, the race is keener and looks clearly limited to runners mainly from APC.

Also present were the three Senators elect from Kwara, Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Kwara Central; Architect Lola Ashiru, Kwara South and Umar Sadiq, Kwara North.

Also present were Adedayo Adeyeye, APC, Ekiti South, Senator Sani Aliyu Abdullahi, Niger North,Barau Jibrin, APC, Kano North, Kabiru Gaya, APC, Kano South, Christopher Ekpenyong, PDP, Akwa Ibom.

Prior to this meeting, there was one on Wednesday which took place in the office of the Senate Leader with many Senators in attendance including Senator Barnabas Gemade, SDP, Benue North East which lasted for several hours.

APC may have started well with this meeting and others will follow in the heat of high wired political horse trading which are often disguised with merriment and clicking glasses.

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