Senate Presidency: Top APC contenders lobby PDP senators-elect

Major contenders such as Senators-elect Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara) and Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) are separately scrambling to woo their colleagues in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other parties ahead of the inauguration of the 10th Senate.

According to report, the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu had settled for Akpabio and Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano) as Senate president and deputy, respectively.

The nomination of Akpabio has stirred dust in the party with other contenders for the Senate presidency kicking against it.

Aside from Akpabio and Barau, seven other senators-elect have indicated interest in the Senate presidency including Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North); Sen Abdul-Aziz Yari (APC, Zamfara West); Sen Sani Musa (Niger East); Sen Ali Ndume (Borno South), Sen Osita Izunaso (Imo West), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi South) and Adams Oshiomhole (Edo North). There are reports that Ndume has keyed into the Akpabio/ Barau project.

However, it was reliably gathered that Yari is pushing hard to gain the support of opposition senators-elect in addition to those backing him in the ruling party.

A bloc in the Upper Chamber, which has four former governors; three from the North West and one from North East, who are supporting Yari have reached out to senators-elect, who are members of the PDP to make the former Zamfara governor the Senate president.

Reports further indicated that in the 109-seat Senate, the APC has 59 senators, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 36; Labour Party (LP) eight, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) two, Social Democratic Party (SDP) two, Young Progressives Party (YPP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) one seat each.

To emerge as the Senate president, contenders require a simple majority of votes. The 10th Senate is expected to be inaugurated on June 13.

Two credible sources told this paper that the bloc has embarked on an aggressive recruitment of senators-elect to actualise their plot.

Hiding under the guise of producing a northern Senate president, the bloc, it was gathered, has a presiding officer in their camp.

The PDP elements in the APC who are former governors have courted a former Senate president to reincarnate the 2015 scenario. They are mobilising resources to actualise their plot.

“As a key figure in 2015, I know they have the capacity to do it. Their target is to get 60 senators across party lines to key into the project,” he said.

It was also gathered that other contestants from the South- South and South-East are uncomfortable with the choice of Akpabio.

Multiple sources confirmed that other contestants in the two zones have decided to continue with their campaigns while wooing senators from the APC and the other political parties in the Red Chamber.

It was learnt that APC stakeholders from the South East are not relenting in their effort to ensure the zone produces the President of the Senate when the National Assembly is inaugurated in June.

One of the party chairmen from the zone confided in Daily Trust that leaders from the South East are making efforts to convince Tinubu and other stakeholders to support the zone in producing the Senate president.

It was reliably gathered that Akpabio on his part has been unrelenting in his quest to actualise his dream by wooing lawmakers-elect across party lines.

“He has been meeting with senators–elect on the platform of APC, PDP, LP, NNPP, SDP and YPP to get their support,” a source in his camp said.

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