The battle for the seat of the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria seems to have deepened as the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is battling with senators elected into the 8th Assembly under the party.
The race for the senate presidency had begun shortly after the results of the last general elections were announced and it was obvious that the APC, which won the presidency, also won the majority seat into the National Assembly.
It will be recalled that the APC recorded huge electoral fortunes at the 2015 polls. It did not only produce the president-elect and won highest number of states, it also secured 60 out of the 109 seats in the Senate and about 240 of the 360 seats in the House of Representatives. Since then, the party has had to confront the acute challenge of managing success, thus underscoring the maxim-uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.
While some of the senators and senators elect were rooting for Senator Bukola Saraki and Senator George Akume, both from the North Central, others were calling on the leaders of the party to consider Ahmed Lawan from the North East, where they said the party got massive votes.
A source stated that the camp of Governors Rabiu Kwakwanso (Kano) and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) that is pushing for the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki from North Central as the Senate President, had insisted that it would not surrender leadership to any move by the party to anoint a candidate for the office of the senate president.
The source also said that instead, the group insisted that the party should allow each of the aspirants for the office to sign an undertaken that he would support anyone, who emerges as the Senate president in the end. The demand, the source said, was an expression of their confidence that once all the aspirants were allowed to stand for election on the floor of the Senate come June 6, their candidate, Saraki would coast home to victory.
But all these are said not to go in line with the plan of the leadership of the APC and a National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who prefer George Akume from the same North Central, but from Benue State, based on his experience and probably fear of the unknown as they are reportedly not comfortable with a Saraki as Senate President.
Our source hinted that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had thrown his weight behind Akume candidature and that drummed up support for Akume from many quarters.
However, sources said that Tinubu has changed gear and has thrown his weight behind Ahmed Lawan from the North East so that the scenario that played out in the House of Representatives in 2011 would not re-occur.
It will be recalled that while the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) then favoured the candidature of the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Mulikat Adeola for the Speakership position then, members of the party in the House preferred the incumbent Speaker, Rt. (Hon.) Aminu Tambuwal for the plum job.
However, since the then Action Congress of Nigerian (ACN) noticed that the leaders of the PDP and few members of other minority parties wanted Mulikat Adeola as Speaker of the House, the ACN ordered its members in the House to give block votes to Tambuwal, which was how he emerged as the Speaker of the House then.
“Tinubu is afraid that such a scenario might repeat itself, which was why he wanted to align with what some of the members of the APC in the Senate want. He discovered that some of the incoming and incumbent members of the party in the Senate prefer Lawan from North East and members of the PDP in the red chamber plan to give block votes to Lawan as the incumbent.
He feels that if they should succeed and Lawan becomes the Senate President, then there would be problem as they would be in control of the senate as it happened to the PDP, when ACN members supported Tambuwal,” said a source.
It was learnt that the leaders of the party are not too comfortable with the ambitions of some of the gladiators in the race and that they have made up their minds to settle the matter the best way they could to avoid any division in the party.
However, the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) reportedly said through his media aide that he was not bothered about who becomes the next senate president, and that what matters to him was to have a working democracy that would make life better for the people.
But this is not the same with the opinion of some of the leaders of the party, who we gathered are afraid that Senator Bukola Saraki wanted to be Senate President to promote his selfish ambition so that he could contest for the post of the president in 2015.
“I can tell you that one of the reasons people like Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu do not want Saraki as Senate President is because they fear he would become too powerful such that he might want to contest for the presidency of the party in 2019 after Buhari must have finished his term of office, which is why they do not want him there,” said our source.
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