Race for Senate Presidency: Senate President, Deputy Back Different Candidates

Race for Senate Presidency: Senate President, Deputy Back Different Candidates

By Seyi Peters | Staff Reporter on May 11, 2015
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marafa Senate Amaechi PDP Senators
File Photo: Nigerian Senate Floor

 The political horsetrading and strategizing for Senate Presidency heightened on Sunday, May 10, 2015 with many loyalists of the outgoing Senate President, David Mark supporting the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmad Lawan.

There were also strong indications that the Deputy Senate President, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu might form an alliance with Senator Bukola Saraki, also a strong contender for the position.

The essence of the Ekweremadu -Saraki alliance,  according to sources, is to support Saraki for Senate President with Ekweremadu retaining his seat. On the condition that he will then deliver the PDP Senate Caucus votes for the ex-Kwara State governor.

The Presidency is however having reservations on the “romance” between Ekweremadu and Saraki.

Sources revealed that some loyalists of the Senate President met at the weekend and opted to work for the emergence of Lawan as the head of the eighth Senate.

It was learnt that at the session in Abuja, Mark’s loyalists said Lawan will ensure what they termed “continuity of the legacies of the outgoing Senate President than any other aspirants.

A high-ranking Senator, who spoke on the issue said: “We (loyalists of Mark) met for about three hours and after exhaustive deliberations, we have opted for Lawan for a “seamless transition and continuity of the legacies of the outgoing Senate President.

“We looked at the three candidates and we discovered that Lawan has an edge in all the criteria we spelt out.

“So, most of us in PDP might vote for Lawan whose loyalty, humility and ability to the system cannot be doubted at any time. Lawan is not perfect, we realised that with the onerous responsibility of the Senate Presidency, he can overcome any leadership challenge.”

The source added: “If you look at the emerging politics, it was the North -West that first endorsed Lawan. This is a signal that the President-elect might be disposed to the North-East producing the next President of the Senate.

“When leaders, like Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, Rauf Aregbesola, Ibrahim Gaidam, Abiola Ajimobi, ex-governors Sani Yerima, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, and others are queuing behind Lawan, there must be some merit in the aspirant.

But Saraki camp is giving Lawan a hard fight following his fresh alliance between the Deputy President of the Senate,

A reliable source added: “Ekweremadu and Saraki have held talks. From preliminary discussions, the Deputy President of the Senate may part ways with Mark on the choice of the President of the eighth Senate.

“The Saraki camp has offered to retain Ekweremadu as the Deputy President of the Senate if he can deliver the block votes of PDP to the ex-governor.

“The latest alliance may be a replica of the politics of how the outgoing Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal and his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha became the leaders of the House in June 2011.

“One of the reasons Ekweremadu is tagging along with Saraki is to protect the South-East from being schemed out of power in the new government.

“Ekweremadu believed the Igbo must not play second fiddle despite the fact that they did not vote for APC. Saraki relies on this bait to woo Ekweremadu to his side.

“Another factor goading Ekweremadu into an alliance with Saraki is that if the former governor becomes the Senate President, the PDP may have a pedestal to start its revival agenda.”

A government source said: “The presidency has some reservations about the understanding or alliance between Ekweremadu and Saraki moreso as the former (Ekweremadu) had been saddled with a responsibility of managing Post-Election Review Committee of the PDP.

A close ally of Ekweremadu said: “All I am aware of is that both Lawan and Saraki have had talks with Ekweremadu. If the Deputy President of the Senate is working out an alliance with Saraki, I will have to find out.”

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