Senate Presidency: North Central Splits Over Akume, Saraki

APC won majority seat at the next senate
APC won majority seat at the next senate

By Emmanuel Suji, Abuja.
Senators of All Progressive Congress(APC) north central caucus have split over the choice of Minority Leader George Akume and Senator Bukola Saraki to succeed incumbent Senate President, Senator David Mark.

The two senators are the front runners to the country’s number 3 position seat in the 8th National Assembly scheduled to be inaugurated next month.

News Investigators gathered that, while some serving senators who have won their return bids to Red Chamber are campaigning for the Minority Leader, senator Akume as Senate President, some newly elected are supporting former governor of Kwara state, senator Saraki for the position.

Also, some ranking senators from the north central, it was learnt, are mulling the option of Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmad Lawan from Yobe State “as consensus candidate because some former governors, even from the north west, are also eyeing the senate president seat.

“They are telling the party to discard the ranking rule in the Senate.”

A ranking senator from a state near Federal Capital Territory(FCT) who confided in our correspondent, explained that Akume was preferred over Saraki because “Akume is accessible and pragmatic. He is even senior to Saraki because he has been in the chamber since 2007.”

Another colleague added that Akume, having been a principal officer for four years should also be considered, after all, “he has been a principal officer now for four years and he has the requisite experience.”

In addition, some senators from the north central who are opposed to the former kwara governor, say Saraki may not be accessible when he becomes the Senate President and secondly, he is rumoured to have eyes on the Presidency in 2019. “We can’t trust him with that office,” the senator revealed.

Another factor in favour of Lawan is “the corruption cases hanging on the neck of some of those jostling for the Senate Presidency. “Lawan has no corruption case hanging on his neck and he is even the most ranking senator from the north  in the APC right now.”

If the APC considers the ranking rule strictly, Lawan has an edge as he has been a lawmaker since 1999. He served two terms in the House of Representatives and he will start his third term as a senator in June.

On Tuesday, former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), senator Barnabas Gemade had  canvassed support for the ambition of the incumbent Senate Minority Leader, Senator George Akume, to become the next Senate President.

Gemade, an All Progressives Congress member from the Benue North-East Senatorial District,   in a statement in Abuja, described Akume as the highest ranking senator from the North-Central geo-political zone and the most qualified for the position.