Teddy Oscar, Abuja
Senators of the All Progressives Congress (APC) stood against the choice of their party’s nominees for the leadership positions of the 8th Senate on Wednesday and almost unanimously picked Senator Ali Ndume from Borno State as their Senate Majority Leader.
The caucus meeting, which lasted very late in the evening, rose with the Party’s preferred candidate, Senator Ahmad Lawan from Yobe State, being rejected by the senators from the North-East, as 11 out of the 13 senators from the zone voted for Ndume.
Consequently, the North-West caucus of the Party in the Red Chamber also met on Wednesday, and endorsed the candidature of Senator Ibn Na’alla from Kebbi State as the Deputy Senate Leader.
The Party had earlier zoned the position to the North-East, and Lawan as its preferred candidate.
Investigation revealed that the Party’s choice for the post of Deputy Senate Leader, Senator George Akume, was said to have been rejected by its North-Central caucus.
Further investigation also revealed that the choice of Na’alla was as a result of the fact that the current Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, is a former governor.
The caucus was said to have claimed that since one of them had emerged as the Senate President, it would be fair and just to allow another zone take up the position of the Deputy Senate Leader.
Also yesterday, Senator Olusola Adeyeye from Osun State was unanimously endorsed by the South-West caucus of the APC as the Chief Whip of the 8th Senate.
The need to have a senator from the South-South geopolitical zone among the principal officers also led to the emergence of the Senator Francis Alimikhena from Edo State as the Deputy Whip.
The Party had initially nominated the Senator Abu Ibrahim from Katsina State as the Deputy Whip.
But investigation revealed that the it was resolved at an enlarged meeting with the governors on Monday night, where it was resolved that the only senator from the South-South should have the position.
A source at the meeting hinted that allowing Ibrahim to emerge as Deputy Whip would automatically disenfranchise the South-South from having a representative among the Senate leadership.
Adeyeye’s name was on the list of principal officers approved by the APC leadership as contained in a letter addressed to the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, and signed by its National Chairman, Chief John Odigie – Oyegun, on Tuesday.
According to information, no dissenting voice was recorded at the meeting of the South-West caucus when the issue was discussed on Tuesday afternoon.
It was also learnt that the senators from the South-West met with the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday night where the former Lagos State Governor reportedly agreed with the federal parliamentarians to make Adeyeye their representative.
When contacted, Lawan, who dissociated himself from the election conducted by the North-East caucus, stressed that he would align himself with the position of the Party.
“I am not aware of any election. The Party had spoken. It is now left for the Senate President to make the announcement,” he said.