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Senate Presidency: Saraki, Akume, Lawan Commence Aggressive Lobbying, Strategic calculations

Investigations has revealed that the camps of Bukola Saraki, George Akume and Ahmad Lawan had commenced aggressive lobbying and strategic calculations to outsmart one another in order to occupy the seat.

For instance, while the Saraki camp is currently seeking the support of the new PDP, which he led alongside Governor Rotimi Amaechi and others, to defect to the APC, Akume is relying on the goodwill he is enjoying from the leadership of the APC, particularly, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

The Lawan camp, on the other hand, believed that the North-East had been short-changed in the political office sharing since 1999.

The camp has the backing of the APC senate caucus in the zone.

It was learnt that the North-East sees the current development as an opportunity to demand for its own share of political offices.

North-East APC Senate caucus may form alliance with PDP senators

Sources said Lawan’s group had already reached out to the PDP caucus in the senate comprising the incumbent Senate President, David Mark, and 47 other members, with a view to forming a formidable alliance that would make their dream become a reality.

Senators from the North-East were said to have promised the PDP caucus that they would work towards the emergence of one of them as the deputy Senate President if their dream of producing the Senate President materialised.

Attempts to speak with Senator Ahmad Lawan and the APC North-East Senate Caucus on the alleged discussion with the PDP caucus in the senate over his ambition were unsuccessful as of the time of filing this report.

But reacting to the development, a member of the APC North-East Caucus, Ali Ndume ( Borno South ), acknowledged that his zone deserved its fair share of the leadership positions in both chambers of the National Assembly, but stressed that it would also seek the APC senators’ support.

“The leadership of the party is doing everything possible to ensure that the zoning is done in such a way that it will be acceptable to all concerned,” he said.

However, a senator from the North-East, who did not want his name mentioned, told one of our correspondents that his people might seek support outside the party, if the leadership of the APC failed to zone either the speaker of the House of Representatives or the Senate President to their area.

He said, “We have 18 senators from the North-East, if we get the support of 48 PDP senators, we will get more than simple majority of 51 votes to produce the senate president. Already, there are 48 senators in the PDP camp. One is outstanding in Delta State.

“We are having at least 66 votes if we perfect our alliance with the PDP.”

When contacted, Senator Ayogu Eze, (PDP, Enugu North) said the PDP caucus in the senate would allow the APC senators to carry out their affairs without any form of interference from the minority party. He said, “I am in the PDP. I think it is the responsibility of the new majority party to determine how they will share their offices in the National Assembly.

“I don’t want to get involved in their affairs because they were not involved when we were in the majority. We will allow them to do their show.

“I am not sure that the South-East will lose out completely in the power sharing at the eighth National Assembly because the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had denied the rumour of zoning. He said all we are hearing about zoning are rumours”

In the House of Representatives, the PDP caucus is also poised to play a major role in the emergence of the speaker, Saturday PUNCH investigations have revealed.

It was gathered that the caucus was closely monitoring meetings of the APC leaders with the aim of working against their choice as speaker.

A member of the caucus, who confided in Saturday PUNCH, said, “If the APC decides to impose a speaker on the House, which is what is likely to happen, it will naturally work with aggrieved elements.”

The North-East, South-West, South-South and North-West are all eying the speakership.

But Saturday PUNCH gathered that views expressed by party decision makers at a meeting of the National Working Committee of the APC a week earlier, narrowed the search to the North-East and South-West.

However, two APC towering political figures, one from the North and the other from the South-West, are said to have consistently disagreed in the course of negotiations, as each of them insists that the seat must go to his zone.

“What is going on now is a battle between the North and the South-West; each wants to be in full control of the next government.

“The North already has the President and they are likely to have the Senate President. The position of the South-West is that, if you add speaker to what they (North) have, it is too much power going to one part of the country.

“That is why the South-West is insisting on having the speaker in addition to the office of Vice-President; indeed, a key APC financier has nominated a particular candidate for the job and has advised all other spirants from the zone to drop their ambition for the candidate,” a senior party official confided in Saturday PUNCH.

It was learnt that the PDP plotted to cue into the “burble that will burst” in the event of the losing zone becoming aggrieved, to “file behind a neutral candidate that is competent and experienced” as the speaker.

The PDP has about 140 lawmakers in the incoming House, as against the APC’s 200 lawmakers.

“If the disagreement in the APC continues unresolved, there won’t be a guarantee that they will give block vote to the candidate of the party. They will be divided.

“It will be easy for the PDP to woo the losing group for a team work to clinch the speakership, even if the candidate has to be an APC member,” one source knowledgeable in the calculations of the PDP told Saturday PUNCH.

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