By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- STRONG indications have emerged that the composition of Principal officers from both the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has at the moment affected the allocation of offices ahead of the resumption of the Senate next Tuesday.
Ordinarily, the list of the Senate Majority Leader, Chief Whip, Deputy Majority Leader, Deputy Chief Whip, Minority Leader, Deputy Minority Leader, Minority Whip and the Deputy Minority Whip ought to have been released soon after the inauguration of the Senate.
However, Vanguard gathered that those saddled with task of allocating offices are handicapped against the backdrop that allocating and reallocating offices to senators would cause confusion.
A source, who spoke with Vanguard said that they do not want a situation where a new Senator is allocated the first floor and later becomes principal office like what happened in the Eight Senate when a fresher, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who got the first floor later became the Senate Minority Leader and was moved to the fourth floor, which is for principal officers and ranking senators.
Also, the selection Committee has not been constituted in line with the Standing Orders and this is because the lists of Principal Officers from the majority and opposition parties are not ready.
According to Chapter XIII, ( 97) -(1) (a), “There shall be a committee to be known as Committee of Selection appointed at the commencement of the life of the Senate to perform the functions allocated to it by these rules, and for such other matters as the Senate may from time to time refer to it.
“(b) The Committee on Selection shall consist of the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President, the Senate Majority Leader, Chief Whip, Deputy Majority Leader, Deputy Chief Whip, Minority Leader, Deputy Minority Leader, Minority Whip and the Deputy Minority Whip.
“ (c) the President shall be the Chairman of the Committee of Selection and in his absence, the Deputy President; (d) nominating Senators to serve on committees to consider any special matters brought before the Senate; (e) such Senators as may be going on parliamentary delegation other than Committees.”
Meanwhile, it has also been discovered that crisis looms in the PDP Senate Caucus over plans by the PDP National Working Committee, NWC, to swap names of selected principals that have already been selected as those that would be presented to the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday.
Two weeks ago the PDP NWC held a meeting with PDP Senators at the residence of the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, where the PDP came up with its list having Senators Enyinnaya Abaribe, Abia South as Minority Leader; Emmanuel Bwacha,Taraba South as Deputy leader; Philip Aduda, FCT as Minority Whip and Clifford Ordia, Edo Central as Deputy Minority Whip.
This Tuesday, however, there were reports that the NWC of the PDP had concluded arrangements to reassign the minority leadership positions.
It was gathered that the PDP intends to replace Senator Clifford Ordia, a ranking Senator with Senator Sahabi Yau from Zamfara, though this intention has not officially been declared by the party.
Nevertheless, the move is already causing a rift between PDP members in the Senate as even
Senators from the South-South are urging the PDP not to take such a dangerous action, and have vowed to resist the move, adding that the party cannot impose anyone on them without due consultation.
One of the aggrieved Senators who spoke to Journalists yesterday in Abuja on the condition of anonymity said that an election was conducted at a meeting held at the Abuja residence of the National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus on June 14th.
According to him, nominations were made in the presence of party leaders as well as PDP senators and winners emerged. He also stated that the winners were unanimously backed by the various organs of the party, adding that the recent move to alter the list and drop some names, does not have the support of the caucus of the party.
The Senator, who noted that no one has been consulted or a meeting held with PDP senators to agree on the issue, accused governors of mounting pressure on the leadership of the PDP to ensure that their interest is represented in the Senate.
The Senator said: “Under the rules of the Senate, it is not the responsibility of the National Working Committee to select principal officers.
“It is the responsibility of the senators themselves to select who leads them. The minority senators have freely elected those they want and nothing will change it.
“The argument that they want to represent every part of the country is false. There are eight positions open to the PDP in the two chambers of the National Assembly. Even if you share one to each geopolitical zone, two will still get an extra slot.
“Those we selected are known to us. They are the people we can work with. Some governors causing this division don’t know how the Parliament operates. They want to control everything in the party for their selfish interest.
“Maybe the NWC has not learnt its lessons. The APC tried this imposition in the Eight Senate and they paid for it dearly. It is up to the PDP to allow us have our way or allow strangers destroy its hold in the Senate.”