The contest for the President of the Senate in the Ninth National Assembly is rapidly traversing the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the preparations for the inauguration of the National Assembly in June.
Elected APC Senators have deepened their lobby, overtures and horse trading for the presiding and principal officers of the Senate. Topping the list of contestants for the Senate President after the exit of the incumbent Senate President Bukola Saraki are the current Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, from the northeast; former Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu, from the north central; Senator Ali Ndume from the northeast and former Governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje, from the northeast.
However, in an effort to ensure cohesion of the senators in the contest for the leadership of the upper chamber, a dinner party was organised for all the newly elected senators in Abuja to consider new roadmap for the National Assembly leadership and the focus of the Ninth Senate. Several other senators have also been holding meetings and consultations across political party boundary expanding the space of support mobilization.
However, organizers held that the gathering of the elected senators in Abuja was a mere “dinner”; creating the euphoria to develop friendship across political party lines. There were indications that the dinner was a smokescreen to cover up a strong power bloc supporting the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, for Senate President.
At the gathering which telecast was monitored from Lagos, Ahmed Lawan was cited to be the only top contender that was present at the dinner meeting on Thursday, which hosted both the ranking Senators and the new senators.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege from Delta Central could not resist the temptation of revealing the ulterior motive of the meeting in Abuja, which suggested that the motive was to mobilise support for Lawal as the successor to Saraki in the Senate.
Senator Tayo Alasoadura from Ondo North, identified as one of the conveners of the meeting, gave credence to the preferences of Omo-Agege when he remarked that he likes calling Lawan his President.
The race for the Senate President is presently within the APC political household. The party currently celebrates having a little above 60 senators of the 109 in the red chamber.
While, Goje and Adamu cannot be dismissed with the wave of hand in the race, Ndume is an experienced politician and lawmaker in the National Assembly.
In all, the Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could be a determining factor in the race for the senate president. While votes would be divided among APC senators, PDP senators could concentrate their votes in one direction; that may swing the pendulum even against what the APC leadership would have decided.