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Race for Next Senate President: Zoning Takes Centre Stage

It would be more appropriate for the South South and the North West to synergise and work towards producing the next president of the senate.

The race for the next senate president has begun in earnest and interested candidates for the office have begun intense lobbying ahead of the inauguration of the distinguished members of the tenth National Assembly, which is in three months.

It is speculated that zoning will play a major role in determining who the cap fits. Hence, there would be a lot of horse trading in the election of a new senate president.

To be clear, the All Progressives Congress (APC) clinched 57 seats in the senate; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), 29 seats; and the Labour Party (LP), won six seats. The New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) have two elected members each while the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Young Peoples Party (YPP) won one seat each.

Certainly, with the multi-party representation as highlighted above, the election of a new senate president would, therefore, not be business as usual. It would not be a case of the ‘winner takes all’ as hitherto played out in previous elections.

Between 1999 and 2023, the North Central, the South East, and the North East have, at one time or the other, had the privilege of producing the third citizen of Nigeria. While the North Central produced eminent personalities like David Mark, Ameh Ebute, Iyorchia Ayu, and Bukola Saraki, the North East produced the incumbent senate president, Ahmad Lawan.

Former senate presidents Adolphus Wabara, Evan Enwerem, Pius Ayim, Chuba Okadigbo and Ken Nnamani were all from the South East. Although the South West has not produced a senate president in the period under review, the region cannot jostle for the position since the president-elect, Bola Tinubu is from the South West.

It would, therefore, be instructive that, as a matter of equity and justice, the South-South and the North West should be considered for the top job this time around. Most senators from these two geopolitical zones are eminently qualified for the office, including Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa West), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North), Uba Sani (Kaduna Central), and Ahmed Babba Kaita (Katsina North).

Presently, the top contenders for the senate presidency are Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North), Ali Ndume (Borno South), Akpabio Godswill (Akwa Ibom North), Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North), Jibrin Barau (Kano North), and Mohammed Sani Musa (Niger East).

Given the high-ranking persons that have thrown their hat into the ring, Fred Agbedi’s, the lawmaker representing the Sagbama/Ekeremor constituency in the House of Representatives, calls for equity and justice to prevail in the choice of the next senate president becomes imperative. Specifically, Agbedi stressed that the senate president should come from the geographical zones that are yet to be in the commanding height of the senate, presumably the South-South and the North West.

From the foregoing, it would be more appropriate for the South-South and the North West to synergise and work towards producing the next president of the senate among their distinguished members. Their choice of a candidate should be predicated on the power of cohesion, display of brotherhood, sincerity of purpose and intense lobbying of other geopolitical zones and party leaderships.

Moreover, their commitment towards bringing to fruition their desire for the office of the tenth senate presidency should be informed by an unwavering search for a common goal and dedication to the common good of the nation. The common good of enthroning a just, equitable and egalitarian society where peace and harmony, security and prosperity abound. ◆

Braeyi Collins Ekiye has been a fixture in the communication and creative arts for about fifty years now. He is a prolific writer, broadcaster, dramatist and journalist. A one-time Editor of the Sunday Tide newspaper, and presently the Editor-in-Chief of EnvironmentWatch, Braeyi Ekiye has also had a distinguished public service career spanning over thirty years, during which he served as Speech Writer to both civilian and military administrations, and lately as Principal Private Secretary to the Vice President of Nigeria, and also as Special Adviser to the President on Parastatals, Statutory Bodies and Inter- Governmental Affairs.

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