• PDP plots ‘Saraki option
By Ismail Omipidan
There are strong indications that new and returning senators elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may have zeroed in on Senator Ahmad Lawan as their preferred choice for Senate President.
Their decision, it was gathered was informed by Lawan’s long legislative experience. He has been elected as a lawmaker from Yobe North, since 1999.
However, he was first elected senator in 2007.
Besides, it was also gathered that the Presidency is not likely to be averse to his choice, considering how he was the party’s preferred choice as senate president in June 2015; before he narrowly lost the position to the incumbent, senator Bukola Saraki.
Although feelers from the party indicate that leaders of the party may be favourably disposed to the choice of Lawan, considering his loyal disposition to the interests of the party, APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Isa-Onilu, however, said the party is yet to take a position on the matter.
In response to questions from Daily Sun, whether the party has taken a decision concerning the zoning of the senate presidency, Isa-Onilu simply replied: “We can only do that at either the National Working Committee (NWC) or National Executive Committee (NEC). Neither has held any meeting recently.”
Lawan is from Yobe State, in the North East. He is also the incumbent senate leader.
There are, however, two other strong contenders from the zone, it was gathered. They are his predecessor in office, Ali Ndume, from Borno State and the current Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations on, Danjuma Goje.
Apart from contenders from the North East, the South East is also making a strong bid for the position.
Leading the pack from the South East is former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, who led the state to deliver over 25 percent votes to President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections.
Regardless, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is also exploring the ‘Saraki option,’ which saw the party team up with some chieftains of the APC in 2015; to produce the senate president against the wishes of the APC.
In 2015, the APC wanted Lawan, with senator George Akume, from Benue State, as his deputy, before some senators scuttled the arrangement.
Regardless, Daily Sun investigations revealed that the tenure of the Eighth Senate will end on Sunday, June 9; having been inaugurated on June 9, 2015. But, Senate, by tradition, does not sit on Sunday.
The chamber is expected to shut down, on or before Thursday, June 6, 2019.
Once that happens, the Ninth Senate is expected to be promulgated by President Muhammadu Buhari, through the Clerk to the National Assembly, on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.
For now, APC controls the chamber, although not with an overwhelming majority.
The PDP has, so far, produced only 37, out of 109 senators, while the APC has 62.
It was further gathered that as things stand, APC can, on its own, produce the presiding officers leadership of the senate; if there is no contest for the position among the various interests and tendencies that make up the party.
But, once there is contest, Daily Sun further learnt, any of the tendencies would require the support of the PDP to get elected. APC’s new and returning senators appear to be committed to ensuring that the APC does not suffer the fate it suffered in 2015.