Anxiety, permutations over the next Senate Presidency

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The race for the top job at the 10th Senate has started in earnest and the lawmakers eyeing the President of the Senate seat has intensified lobbying; KEHINDE OSASONA writes.

The scramble

Although the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is yet to take a stand on who becomes what in both the Upper and Lower Legislative Chambers, there has been intense lobbying and debate around who takes the helm as the leader of the upper legislative chamber of the country.

As the 9th Senate expires on June 11, 2023, Blueprint Weekend’s findings revealed that rumour is already making the rounds about adopting a particular zone and candidate for the 10th Senate.

The ruling party has since deflated the rumour. This medium learnt that the APC is yet to zoned the Senate presidency, and a party source was quoted as saying “it was not a right of any of the zones.”

Despite the ruling party’s stance, some pundits are of the views that zoning will to a large extent determine who wears the crown.

A political commentator, Laditi Akingba told Blueprint Weekend in an exclusive chat that in taking such a decision, the ruling APC would not ignore power balancing and zoning, arguing that doing so would be at its peril.

“The APC will likely go South in its search for the next Senate President in order to whittle down the outrage that greeted its Muslim-Muslim ticket from the Christian community,” Akingba said.

Also, multiple sources in the party hierarchy confirmed to this medium that the party leadership may likely announce its position on the scramble for the seat any moment from now, to avoid the former Senate President Bukola Saraki scenario.

Game of throne

The party had in 2015 endorsed Lawan as its preferred candidate for the position and directed all its members in the senate to support his candidature, only for Saraki to defy his party, courted PDP members of the senate, got elected and was crowned as the President of the 8th Senate.

On that day, Saraki, Ike Ekweremadu and a host of his loyalists were already at the national assembly complex. And minutes before 10am, when the inauguration was expected to start, they were seated in the red chamber.

But Lawan and his group were absent. They had gone for a meeting at the International Conference Centre (ICC) on the most important day in the life of any lawmaker.

To the dismay of the absentee lawmakers, inauguration commenced even after news had rippled that it would not take place.

Saraki was then nominated. The clerk of the national assembly, who officiated, asked repeatedly if there was a challenger, but there was none. Saraki afterwards assumed the position of senate president unchallenged. The rest as they say is history.


As the chase for the seat heats up, candidates for the position may have hit the ground running. First to declare his intention a few days ago was the current Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu.

Kalu, who won re-election to represent Abia North in the Red Chamber, disclosed this while briefing newsmen at the National Assembly. Other contenders for the seat are Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Barau Jibrin (Kano) and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) and Sanni Musa (Niger).

At the briefing Kalu said: “It is my turn to become the Senate President. If I’m elected Senate President, I will be team Nigeria. I’m going to work in every corner of Nigeria.

“I schooled in Maiduguri, Borno state. I started my business in Lagos and spread it across all state capitals. My first name will be team Nigeria; my last name will be team Nigeria.

“Remember, I’m the only former governor who has never changed phone lines for more than 20 years. I’m still willing to maintain that telephone number to answer all my calls. I’m not going to switch off my phones because I’m Senate President.

“I’m hoping that Nigerians will pray for me to become Senate President because it’s my turn.”


Recently too, a coalition of various Northern groups endorsed the former Governor of Akwa-Ibom state, former Senate Minority Leader, and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio for the position of Nigeria Senate President.

The groups, which made their position known at a joint press conference held in Kaduna include the Arewa Youth Alliance for Equity, Northern Central Consultative forum for Good Governance, Area Movement for National Unity, APC Northwest Forum Consultative Assembly, and Northern Nigeria Peace Forum.

To further drive home their point, the groups brandishing placards with various inscriptions embarked on a peace walk within Kaduna Monopolies conveying their message to Nigerians and Members of the 10th Senate.

Speaking on behalf of the groups at the conference, Sheikh Abdullahi Ibrahim Mai Kasuwa urged the Senators Elect for the 10th Senator to vote for Senator Akpabio as the Next Senate President. He noted that all the aspirants for the office are very experienced and qualified, but Akpabio, according to him, was more deserving for the purpose of national unity and fairness.

In its argument, the group held: “It is worth mentioning that all zones have had a fair share of the office, but the South South has been marginalized for a long time despite their contributions to the national treasury.


While also declaring his intention to contest for the post in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state, Governor Dave Umahi called on the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the All Progressive Congress (APC) to consider zoning the position to the southeast and Speakership of the House of Representatives to the Northeast. Zoning the two positions to the aforementioned zones according to Umahi will be in the interest of equity, justice and fairness.

Umahi who is the Senator-elect for Ebonyi South Senatorial zone noted that the governor-elect and majority of the states in the State Assembly also went to the APC to further show that the state is totally APC.


Meanwhile, a group of young Nigerians from the various oil producing communities in the country have also urged the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu, to consider a ranking senator from the North Central geopolitical zone as the next Senate President.

The Niger Delta Progressive Youths Frontiers who made the appeal in an open letter to Tinubu in Abuja hinged its call on the need to reward the North-Central, which according to them stands out in the just concluded 2023 polls.

Signed by its Secretary General, Oyinemi Nicholas Endeley, the group explained that aspirants from other parts of Nigeria apart from the North Central selfishly worked for themselves in the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections, insisting that they got higher votes for themselves compared to what the president got in their senatorial districts.

The letter reads in part: “As laid out above, it is no gainsaying that one region exceptionally stood out and that is the North Central. A region that has been marginalized for decades and crying for a President of North Central extraction, yet standing very strong in solidarity with you when the need arose,”

This reporter gathered that the group may be rooting for Senator Sani Musa from Niger state, who is believed to be eying the position as well.


Being an experienced legislator with influence in the house has kept Lawan going.

But whether that would be enough to bring him back to his seat after the expiration of his term is another thing altogether.

Although he is a loyal party man who did not rock the party boat and supported President Muhammadu Buhari policy, pundits are of the opinion his failed move to be crowned the APC consensus presidential candidate, is still haunting him.


Adams Oshiomhole, a two-term governor of Edo state and former national chairman of the ruling party is also in the race. Although a first timer, observers of political events in the country are not ruling him out of the game.

It would be recalled that the erstwhile chairman was considered a loyal party man by the President-elect while his reign lasted. Those who are in the know maintain that when chips are down, Asiwaju Tinubu would be more comfortable working with Oshiomhole.

Who wins?

Having a majority lead out of the 109 seats no doubt, put APC in a good stead to again produce the senate president as was the case with Lawan.

As at the last counts, seven political parties won seats to represent their constituency and with the scramble for the top seat, Nigerians may yet witness another interesting scenario which could throw up even the most unexpected as the new helmsman. The question remains; who wins the seat?

With the intrigues and unholy alignments that often play out in the house, the next few weeks when the winner will emerge is worth the wait.

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