The battle for the Chairmanship of the National Assembly (President of the Senate) is actually among Senators Ahmed Lawan, Ali Ndume, Danjuma Goje from the north-easter States of Yobe, Borno, Gombe; and Abdulahi Adamu of Nasarawa State in the north-central.
And, of course, a dark horse who is being kept as a joker, as is the manner of political power players. He will only be thrown on the table when push comes to shove and bloodied warriors need to be stopped in their tracks before they bring down the house on everyone.
The battle for the deputy chairmanship (Speaker of the House) position is another calabash of kolanuts.
There have been permutations, lies, spin doctors tale, and even loud-mouthed boasting as evidenced in the less than decorous comments of one of the national chairmen of the political parties.
President Muhammadu Buhari may be acting reticent, but the last four years have taught him a lesson. If he is a learner. A dinner with Governors and parliamentarians-elect showing he or his power block are showing initiative, and members would not go for a needless meeting as happened in 2015 while elections were on in the National Assembly.
But to ignore Bukola Saraki, Yakubu Dogara, David Mark, Ike Ekweremadu, and many more seasoned lawmakers will be the greatest undoing of the All Progressives Congress APC) power mongers. To be sure, they have enduring friendships in APC, and while they act unconcerned now, they are a deadly and potent force. If they are unconcerned, they have eaten a trailer load of bananas and are keeping the peels, knowing that with the ambitions flying around in the ruling party, the peels will come in handy, within a year or two.
As the jostlings continue, the Senate caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on counterparts in the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stop dragging the name of the incumbent Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, into the schemes and plots by Senators-elect of the ruling party over who and who gets elected into the leadership of the Ninth Senate.
In a statement signed by Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, and Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Sen. Dino Melaye, the PDP caucus stated that it has observed closely as the contenders for the various Senate leadership posts in the APC sponsor various publications in the media to make it appear that Dr. Saraki is seeking to play a role in who occupy the various leadership posts in the next Senate.
The PDP Senate caucus warned that such surreptitious attempts to drag Saraki into the issue that does not concern him would not augur well for the smooth take-off of the next Senate and could only create suspicion and ill-will among the incumbent Senators and the incoming ones.
“We have noted with regret and surprise how some Senators who are interested in becoming the next Senate President and those seeking to occupy various leadership positions in the next Senate have been busy dragging the name of the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, into their schemes for fulfilling their ambitions. We believe those involved in this dirty game are only afraid of the shadow of the Senate President.
“Such people should know that Dr. Saraki is not interested in their plots, schemes and manipulation. His concern now is to continue to provide leadership to the Eighth Senate and to ensure that the Senate achieves as much as it is possible in the remaining two months of its tenure.
“It is obvious that many Senators and even Senators-elect still defer to Saraki. And this is understandable because he is a national leader of the PDP. He is a respected Senator who has also provided solid leadership for the Senate. So, those who are afraid of his influence should find a positive way to deal with that, not sponsoring falsehood in the media.
“Last week, PDP Senators paid Dr. Saraki a visit in his home as a way of encouraging him and in recognition of the personal sacrifice that he has had to make for providing strong and purposeful leadership to the National Assembly, for protecting the independence of the legislature and judiciary, separation of powers, inclusiveness in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious Nigeria and working for the creation of a conducive environment for business to thrive. Those who are not sure of their grounds in their quest for Senate leadership are busy putting a spin on that visit.
“Let it be known that no matter the mischief being sponsored by these spineless people, Dr. Saraki knows that it is the duty of all Senators in the Ninth Senate to elect their Senate President and other leaders. Nobody from outside the Senate has such powers. It is also the right of every Senator to aspire to that position as stated by the constitution. He has benefitted from this practice of Senators within the chambers exercising the right. He is conscious of this fact and will not be a party to any plan to seize or interfere with the process of evolving the leadership of the Ninth Senate.
“We therefore urge the APC gladiators and their handlers to leave Saraki out of their schemes and manipulations. They should go and concentrate on how to convince the Senators-elect and ensuring that the election of the next Senate President takes place in a conducive atmosphere with a view to strengthening the institution and making it perform its constitutional roles, without any hinderance”, the caucus stated.