As battle for 9th Senate leadership begins: 66 new faces set to debut, 43 old warlords return



Like most of the other Senates, from the 5th in 2003 to the 8th in 2015, the 9th Senate slated for inauguration in June this year will have 66 new faces out of the 109 senators who emerged from the National Assembly election conducted penultimate Saturday, by the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC).

The balance of 43 are those among the serving senators who participated in the election and succeeded, paving way for them as ranking senators eligible to contest for any of the two presiding and 8 principal positions in the Senate .

While the two presiding positions are those of the Senate President and Deputy Senate President, the principal positions are Senate majority leader, Deputy majority leader, Chef Whip and Deputy Whip.

Others are Senate’s Minority Leader, Deputy minority leader, minority whip and deputy minority whip.

Being the only two positions requiring participation of  all elected senators  in the emergence of their occupiers at inauguration , race for the two presiding positions among the reelected 43 senators , is hotting up on daily basis as contenders are emerging though unofficially .

While high ranking APC senators like Ahmed Lawan ( Yobe North), Ali Ndume ( Borno South ), Danjuma Goje ( Gombe Central) and Abdullahi Adamu ( Nasarawa West) , are already in the race for the presidency of the 9th Senate, their counterparts from the South East like Senator Orji Uzor ( Abia North) and Benjamin Uwajumogu ( Imo  North) if he eventually wins from the rerun election this Saturday,  are already positioning themselves for the number two  presiding job  of Deputy Senate President .

By legislative experience and party loyalty, Ahmed Lawan may eventually be the choice of APC and perhaps, the presidency for the number one position in the 9th Senate but peculiar factors cum high wire politics  among the 109 senators may robb  him of the position .

A pointer to that direction is the serious interest Ali Ndume and Danjuma Goje also have in the race , which may bring about divisions among the 65 APC senators for exploitation by the 41 PDP senators as it was,  in  2015 in the buld up tp the inauguration of the 8th Senate .

Though the 41 PDP senators already confirmed elected for the 9th Senate outside the Plateau South and Imo  North seats yet to be declared by INEC , have not met to take position on who to support for the number one seat in the Senate but feelers from their camp indicate that both Lawan and Ndume , may not get their backing .

One of them who is a  returnee senator and very close to the outgoing senate president, Bukola Saraki , confided in the Blueprint on Sunday that what is sure from them is block votes for whoever they will settle for at the end of the day .

According to the senator “what happened in 2015 at the inauguration of the 8th Senate will surely repeat itself at the inauguration of the 9th Senate because senators elected on the platform of PDP will use their number in block voting a senate president that will carry them along and respect the doctrine of separation of powers especially between the executive and the legislature and not a rubber stamp senate president amenable to the presidency.

“For now, no particular person yet but we are strategically watching the dancing steps of the interested persons within the APC camp for the required profiling,  endorsement or rejection  in June with our block votes.”

Statistically , while the APC has 65 confirmed senators- elect for the 9th Senate, the PDP has 41, YPP has one and the remaining two seats are those of Plateau South and Imo  North where Benjamin Uwajumogu of the APC is struggling to make it as the only ranking senator from the South East .

The spread of the 43 returnees are two from Lagos, one from Ondo, one from Oyo , two from Abia , two from Ebonyi, two from Enugu and one from Anambra .

Others are one from Akwa Ibom, three from Delta, three from Edo, two from Cross River , two from Kano, one from Jigawa, one from Kaduna, one from Zamfara, three from Kebbi, two from Sokoto, one from Katsina and two from Borno.

Also returning are three senators from Taraba, one from Yobe, one from Bauchi, one from Gombe, one from Kogi, one from Nasarawa, one from Niger and Senator Tanimu Aduda from FCT.

Apart from Delta, Edo, Kebbi, Taraba and FCT where all the serving senators returned , the 66 new faces for the 9th Senate , cuts across all the remaining 32 states on the platform of both the APC and the PDP.

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