Senate Presidency: Politics of Endorsement and Numbers

The race for Senate president seems to have now crystallised between two aspirants: Ahmed Lawan from Yobe State and Bukola Saraki from Kwara. Saraki reportedly “hinted” that as many as 80 senators had queued behind him in the race. But politicians will always be politicians! If 80 out of 109 senators could support Saraki, then, the game would be over.

Nothing could be farther from the truth, however. Lawan seems far ahead of Saraki because he has better credentials. For now, he has received the support of 20 north-west senators, 13 south-west senators and all three from his state Yobe, making a total of 36 votes in his kitty.

Though President-elect Buhari doesn’t want to interfere in the affairs of the Senate, he obviously won’t back anyone with cases pending at the EFCC. Saraki still has questions pertaining to the collapse of Societe General Bank and how he governed Kwara State between 2003 and 2011 to answer.

Where would support for Saraki come from then? [We asked President Jonathan the same question before the presidential election.] Is it from PDP senators who are livid over Saraki’s role in the formation of G7 and “new PDP” (nPDP)? Is it from APC senators most of whom prefer someone that has always been in the opposition? And where is the fairness in letting another Yoruba head the Senate when a Yoruba will be vice-president and another Yoruba may be House speaker?

Needless to say, the matter will soon be settled on the floor of the Senate. Quoting fictitious numbers and claiming endorsements on the pages of newspapers won’t decide the winner. There would have been no friction in selecting the Senate president if the south-east had produced even one APC senator.


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