APC may zone Senate presidency to N’West, raises legal team to defend Tinubu’s victory
As race for the Senate presidency gathers momentum, information emerged, yesterday, that the All Progressives Congress (APC), with majority of elected lawmakers, might zone the nation’s number three position to the zone that gave it the highest number of votes in the just concluded presidential election.
Ranking senators from geopolitical zones outside that of the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Southwest) and his deputy, Kashim Shettima (Northeast), are already positioning themselves for the coveted seat, throwing up several factors in the mix.
“The APC may likely favour the zone that gave it its strongest support and cooperation and that will favour the Northwest, which gave the highest number of votes,” a lawmaker said.
According to him, “this has been the tradition that the region that gives the ruling party its highest votes is most favoured for such positions.” He recalled that during the Obasanjo era, it was easy to zone the seat of the Senate President to the Southeast because the region voted overwhelmingly for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government, and in the Umaru Yar’Adua/Goodluck Jonathan administrations, the Northcentral zone was favoured due to same reason.
The two-term South West senator noted: “In the present circumstance, since the Northwest has contributed immensely to Tinubu’s emergence, it is expected that the zone would be rewarded with the position.”
Coincidentally, the region boasts of an array of ranking legislators that are eminently qualified for the post. Top on the list is Senator Jibrin Barau from Kano State. The odds favour Kano due to its strategic importance as one of the super states in the Nigerian power equation.
The source went on: “The need for the APC government to consider Kano has become more imperative due to the threat of annihilation by the Rabiu Kwankwaso-led New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), which inflicted considerable damage on the APC in the last elections.
“One of the few people, who was able to withstand the onslaught of the NNPP and returned his senatorial district to the APC, is Barau, a fourth-term legislator, who has shown capacity, by winning the Kano North senatorial seat consistently for three consecutive times.”
Barau, who is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, was in the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003, where he served chairman of the committee on appropriation and returned in 2015 as a senator.
IN a related development, the ruling APC has constituted a 13-member legal team, led Lateef Fagbem (SAN), to defend the victory of its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu at the election petition tribunal.
Its National Legal Adviser, Ahmad Usman El-Marzuq, made the announcement in a statement he issued yesterday in Abuja. El-Marzug explained that the team consists of legal luminaries with vast experience in election petition matters, constitutional law and litigation.
Besides Fagabemi and El-Marzuq other members of the squad include Sam Ologunorisa; Rotimi Oguneso; Olabisi Soyebo; Gboyega Oyewole; Muritala Abdulrasheed; Aliyu Omezia Saiki and Tajudeen Oladoja.
The rest are Pius Akubo; Oluseye Okusanya; Suraju Saida and Kazeem Adeniyi.The National Legal Adviser expressed confidence that the team would deliver creditably. He sued for comportment, professionalism and respect for rule of law throughout the legal process.