The race for the senate presidency has begun almost three months before the expected inauguration of the 10th National Assembly in June.
Ranking senators elected on the platform of the APC from geopolitical zones outside that of the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu (South West), and his vice, Kashim Shettima (North East), are already positioning themselves for the coveted position.
The APC may likely favour the zone that gave it its strongest support and cooperation in the presidential election; and that will be the North West which gave the highest number of votes.
This has been the tradition, where the region that gives the ruling party its most support is most favoured for such a position.
During the Olusegun Obasanjo era, it was easy to zone the senate presidency to the South East because the region voted overwhelmingly for the PDP government. And in the Umaru Yar’Adua-Goodluck Jonathan administrations, the North Central was favoured due to the same reason.
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In the present circumstance, since the North West has contributed immensely to Tinubu’s emergence, it is expected that the zone would be rewarded with the position.
Coincidentally, the region boasts of an array of ranking legislators who are eminently qualified to occupy the seat.
Top on the list is Senator Jibrin Barau from Kano State. The odds favour Kano due to its strategic importance as one of the super states in the Nigerian power equation.
The need for the APC government to consider Kano has become more imperative due to the threat of annihilation by the Rabiu Kwankwaso-led NNPP which inflicted considerable damage on the APC in the last elections.
Barau is a fourth term senator who has shown capacity by winning the Kano North senatorial seat for three consecutive times.
With that feat, it has become clear that he has the capacity not just to check the excesses of the NNPP and return Kano fully to the APC, but can provide the needed leadership for the success of the APC-led government.
Barau, who is the current Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, is a thoroughbred lawmaker who has served a better part of his political life in the parliament.
He was in the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003, where he served as the chairman of the committee on appropriation, and came back to the National Assembly in 2015, this time as a senator.
He not only retained the seat in 2019, but in the February elections, confirmed the fact that he is a formidable political leader by defeating the NNPP which claimed the other two senatorial seats in his state.
Barau is one politician who has had credible experience both as a legislator and an administrator and has never been associated with any scandal or controversy.
For a legislator who has served as chairman of the appropriation committee in both the House of Representatives and the senate, Barau has been effective in the discharge of his duties and ensuring proper scrutiny of the budget.
He also served as the Chairman of the Kano State Investment and Properties Ltd, Commissioner for Science and Technology, and member of a committee to review Nigeria’s budgetary process.
Soft spoken and easy going, Barau enjoys the support and cooperation of his colleagues as he is accessible and humble, while being effective in every leadership role he has held.
The president-elect would require such an experience, committed and easy going leader to work with as president of the senate for the success of his administration.
Ibrahim Tajudeen Olawale can be reached vide firstname.lastname@example.org