By Henry Umoru
AFTER 29 days of break to allow for allocation of offices and the Sallah celebration, senators are expected to resume tomorrow to face the challenges of legislating for the country and ensuring good governance for Nigerians.
Recall that soon after Senator Akpabio emerged President of the Senate on Tuesday, June 13, he set up a15- member welfare committee, led by Senator Isah Jibrin, APC, Kogi East, to allocate offices and seats at the hallowed chamber in accordance with the Standing Orders and ranking.
As senators resume tomorrow, the fight for those to become the principal officers for both the majority and minority parties would now be taken to the National Assembly.
Though the issue of who become the principal officers is purely a party affair, recent developments have shown both internal and external influence in the matter, just as what played out in the case of House of Representatives in the 9th National Assembly when the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP wrote to the then speaker, Femi Gbajiabiamila, submitting the name of Chinda Kingsley, but the speaker tricked the PDP and announced Ndudi Elumelu as the minority leader.
In the Senate, the principal office positions for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, are the majority leader; chief whip; deputy leader; and deputy whip, while the opposition parties have the minority leader; minority whip; deputy minority leader and deputy minority whip.
With the inauguration of the 10th Senate, the ruling APC has 59 senators; PDP, 36; Labour Party, LP, eight; New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, two; Social Democratic Party, SDP, two; and All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA and Young Progressives Party, YPP, one each.
With the composition, the six opposition political parties have altogether 50 senators as against APC’s 59.
It is expected that the APC would forward to the Senate, names of the principal officers and those in the race for the Senate leader are former Senate leader, Senator Ali Ndume, APC, Borno South; Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, APC, Ekiti Central; and Senator Abdulfatai Buhari, APC, Oyo North.
In the case of the Minority leader, it is a battle of wit between the PDP, former Vice Presidential and the party’s presidential candidate in the February 25 election, Atiku Abubakar on one hand and the immediate past governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on the other.