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Senate presidency: North, South poise for showdown over zoning

Some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are set for a showdown as the party’s top echelon prepares to zone principal offices of the…

Some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are set for a showdown as the party’s top echelon prepares to zone principal offices of the National Assembly.

Barring any last minute change, the APC will decide which zone it finds most suitable for the post of Senate presidency and others before the end of the week, Daily Trust gathered.

Reliable sources within the APC said the party will take a position before the clamour for the plum job degenerates to the point of confusion and disagreement within the party.

“You know that if we leave this open for debates for too long, all kinds of interests will emerge, and there might be alliances that will not support the position of our party.

“We will therefore move latest by mid-week to decide where the pendulum swings before there will be recourse to primordial sentiments such as religion and ethnicity,” a source said.

Daily Trust learnt that while senators from the South are clamouring for the position on the basis of religion and regional balance, their colleagues from the North argued that competence and voting strength should be the major considerations in determining which zone gets the position.

One of the leaders of the party in the North urged the leadership of APC to consider the voting patterns of the zones in choice of the Senate president and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“The issue of zoning is a political issue. The decision is most likely to tilt towards who brought what to the table because there will be no jostling for positions if we did not win the election,” he said.

He opined that the North West which contributed most of the votes to the victory of the APC in the presidential election should be considered for the Senate president position. He added that APC needs to compensate the zone for the overwhelming support it received during the 2023 election.

But another chieftain of the party who is rooting for the zoning of the position to the South-East said, “It is wrong to say that the South didn’t contribute to Asiwaju’s victory. How did APC meet the constitutional requirement of the 2/3 of the 36 states? Evidence abound that APC is the leading party in the South East. The party controls 2 of the first states in the South East while LP, APGA and PDP have one each.”

While it is not yet clear how the Senate president would emerge, more than nine senators from the APC, which has a majority in the chamber, have indicated interest.

Among them are the serving Senate president, Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North); Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North); Senator Jibrin Barau (Kano North); Sen Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North-West); Sen Abdul-Aziz Yari (APC, Zamfara West); Sen Sani Musa (Niger East); Sen Ali Ndume (Borno South) and Sen Osita Izunaso (Imo West).

There are also insinuations that former APC chairman and Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole (Edo North), as well as the Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi (Ebonyi South), who would be first-time legislators when the 10th National Assembly is inaugurated, are also interested in the position. The ranking rule would have to be jettisoned for them to succeed.

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