Senate Presidency: Campaign for Lawan’s presidency mars Kalu’s bid
*** Akpabio’s withdrawal from Tinubu gives him an edge
***Emergence of 5 past Senate Presidents threatens South East’s desire
Ahead of the announcement of zoning arrangement for the election of the National Assembly’s presiding officers, it emerged on Thursday that the pre-presidential primary election politics, among others, in the All Progressives Congress (APC) is causing serious harm to the party’s bid to make its nomination.
Among the thorny issues delaying the announcement of APC’s suitable nomination for the number three position, it was learnt, is the alleged plot to push out current Senate Chief Whip and former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu for the role he played as campaign coordinator for incumbent Senate President Ahmad Lawan during his 2023 presidential campaigns for APC Presidential primaries.
Lawan was among the four APC presidential aspirants who refused to step down for Tinubu during the June 6, 2023, presidential primary election.
Kalu had in signifying his interest in the presidency of Nigeria’s 10th Senate stated that “I will like the party to zone it to my zone, to my village in Igbere because the president-elect needs people of high character to turn around the economy and work for for the masses and make laws that will enable him to turn around the economy”
Checks conducted by The Guardian within the caucus of the APC in the National Assembly on Thursday revealed that although the party might have narrowed its choice of Senate Presidency candidate to the South East and the South-South, the duo of Orji Kalu and Godswill Akpabio have become the topmost contenders.
Akpabio, it was further learnt is attracting the support of many party leaders because of his swift withdrawal from the race for the President-elect during the presidential primary election of the APC last June.
Briefing journalists in Abuja on Thursday, a group of serving and former members of the National Assembly led by Eseme Eyiboh made it clear that the President of the 10th Senate should be made to emerge from the South-South because the South East had produced five Senate Presidents in the past.
The group also contended that the South-South gave the APC more votes than the South East in the February 2023 presidential election.
According to Eyiboh, the larger consideration should be the emergence of a Senate President and Senate leadership that will engage the executive in developmental issues.
“The other thing is that there is a need for a leadership in the legislature that commands reciprocal respect from the executive arm of government to facilitate understanding and good governance because the primary purpose of government remains security and welfare of the People.” He said.
On the need for the APC to nominate Akpabio for the Senate Presidency job, the group said the work done by the former Akwa-Ibom State governor, as well as his contributions as minister for Delta Affairs, should be taking into consideration.
The group also made a case for a National Assembly leadership that will not engage in unnecessary warfare with the executive arm of government.
“The constitution in section 4(1) makes the legislature the primus inter pares (first among equals) of all arms of government. So, there is no need for any crisis that could throw it into crisis.” It stressed.