Ahead of next Tuesday’s resumption of plenary, intense lobbying has begun among members of the 10th Senate over Principal office positions as well as chairmanship and membership of key standing committees in the upper chamber.
Although the leadership of various political parties play critical roles in the selection process, the jostle for these key positions is reportedly already causing ripples among the senators within the ruling APC and major opposition PDP members in the parliament.
This is coming amid concerns over alleged plans by outside forces to interfere in the process.
The opposition caucus has vowed to resist such moves.
There are eight principal positions up for grabs.
The ruling APC with majority 59 senators, is expected to fill the positions of Senate Leader, Deputy Senate Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip
The six minority parties together make up 50 seats which include the PDP with 36 seats, LP 8, SDP- 2, NNPP – 2, YPP- 1, and APGA, 1.
They will have to share the other four positions of Minority Leader, Deputy Minority Leader, the Minority Whip and the Deputy Minority Whip.
The North Central is favored to take the majority leadership position, having not featured in the top positions so far decided not just in the Senate but the House of Reps
However, Ali Ndume from the North East and Opeyemi Bamidele from the southwest are seriously jostling for the position.
While Ndume served as the Director General of Akpabio’s campaign for senate presidency, Bamidele served as the deputy; both men hoping to be rewarded for loyalty.
Moreover, Senator Bamidele, a ranking member of the Senate is a known close ally of President Bola Tinubu, a linkage that could either favor him or work in his disadvantage considering the need for national balance, since he hails from the same zone as the President.
They are also ranking APC senators from the southeast, who could be given consideration such as Senators Osita Izunaso and Orji Uzor Kalu, who had aspired to become senate president.
In the minority caucus, Aminu Tambuwal representing Sokoto is said to be favoured by the PDP because of his experience as former speaker of the House of Representatives, a two-term governor and immediate past chairman of the party’s Governors Forum.
However, there are indications that his nomination may be truncated by the divisive interest in his party. A group of eight senators including Adamu Aliero and Seriake Dickson.
recently raised an alarm about plans to destabilize the PDP senate caucus and enthrone a minority leader from the rival camp of Nyesom Wike who is so far enjoying a cozy political romance with the APC leadership.
These claims were backed by PDP’s senator Abdul Ningi and Ezenwa Nwawichi of the Labour Party.
While attention is on principal officers, other lawmakers have their eyes on the so-called ‘juicy’ committees.
Some of the committees highly sought after include the Appropriations Committee, responsible for the country’s annual budget and its influence over MDAs.
Solomon Olamilekan, another senator from the southwest who reportedly aligns with President Tinubu has been rumoured to be eyeing the committee.
Other committees are that of Oil and Gas, Finance, Public Accounts, Defence (Army, Navy and Air Force), Police Affairs, National Security,Intelligence, Customs and Excise, among many others
While intense lobbying continues for these principal offices in the Senate and their committees, what is of greater importance to Nigerians is that the 10th Senate under Senator Godswill Akpabio will truly be independent and represent the interest of the citizens both in their law-making processes and oversight duties.