9th NASS: Five senators-elect jostle for Deputy Senate Presidency

9th NASS: Five senators-elect jostle for Deputy Senate Presidency

- Five out of the 64 senators-elect of the APC have signified their intention to run for the position of Deputy Senate President

- The aspirants are said to have since commenced consultations and campaigns about their ambition

- The aspirants have intensified their campaigns by meeting with both APC and opposition PDP senators-elect

A report by ThisDay indicates that five out of the 64 senators-elect of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have signified their intention to run for the position of Deputy Senate President (DSP) of the ninth National Assembly ahead of its inauguration in June.

According to the report, those angling to take over as DSP from Senator Ike Ekweremadu include ranking senators Kabiru Gaya (north-west), Francis Alimikhena (south-south), Ovie Omo-Agege (south-south), Ajayi Boroffice (south-west) and first term senator-elect Orji Uzor-Kalu (south-east).

The aspirants are said to have since commenced consultations and campaigns among both returning and fresh senators about their ambition.

Sources quoted in the report stated that the aspirants have intensified their campaigns by meeting with both APC and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators-elect and stressing the need for their colleagues to vote for them.

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One of the aspirants, Senator Boroffice (Ondo north) on his part, has written formally to all the senators-elect seeking their endorsement as DSP.

He stated that he was seeking the support of the senators-elect across party lines based on his proven experience having been in the upper legislative chamber since 2011 and currently serving as chairman of the Senate committee on science and technology.

Gaya (Kano south), the first to officially declare his interest shortly after his re-election in March has been in the Senate since 2007 and is the chairman of Senate committee on works.

Alimikhena (Edo north), who is vice chairman of Senate committee on housing and is returning for a second time, has been discreetly canvassing for votes from his colleagues.

On his part, Omo-Agege, who won election into the Senate in 2015 on the platform of the Labour Party (LP) before defecting to APC in 2016, was last week formally endorsed by the south-south APC chairpersons.

In a letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari and signed by all the six APC chairmen, they said Omo-Agege was being endorsed because of his loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari as well as the federal government.

Kalu (Abia central), a former two-time governor of Abia state and a fresh senator said he believed the APC will zone the position of DSP to the south-east.

Kalu, who made his intention known at the orientation programme held for federal legislators-elect in Abuja last month, has continued to impress it upon his colleagues why he should be elected DSP having served as a member of the House of Representatives during the Third Republic.

Although the national leadership of the APC had only officially zoned the Senate presidency to the north-east, there are indications that the DSP may be zoned to the south-south.

Meanwhile, some senators-elect have vehemently kicked against alleged plans to reintroduce Open Voting Pattern in the election of 9th National Assembly leadership.

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The federal lawmakers mostly from the PDP, said the option of open voting was contrary to the open-secret system contained in the 2015 version of the Senate rule book.

The senators say the secret ballot system is in line with international best practices in many developed countries.

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