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Saturday, 4 May 2019

SENATE PRESIDENCY: CAMPAIGN THICKENS



With just 36 days to inauguration of the ninth National Assembly, the issue of committees’ chairmanship distribution has dominated campaigns for the topmost positions in the Senate.
The three known contenders for Senate presidency are not leaving stones unturned to use the committee chairmanship issue to sway support in their favour.
A former Senate Majority Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, told The Guardian that the matter of distribution of Senate committee is as important as the distribution of members of Federal Cabinet, which the Constitution has ruled upon.
Ndume said the Constitution and even the Senate Rules have provided that Committee Chairmen be appointed based on equality of States and the six geo-political zones. Order 3(4) of the Senate Standing Rule 2015 states: “The appointment of Senators as chairmen and members of committees shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the six geo-political zones of the country and there shall be no predominance of Senators from a few geo-political zones.”
He insisted that anything short of this provision would be destructive to the unity of the Senate and that of Nigeria.
Presently, the 109-member Senate has a total of 69 committees.
It is also the Senate’s tradition that none of its Presiding and Principal officers should head any committee, aside from the Selection Committee, which is headed by the Senate President.
Also yesterday, it emerged that a group of All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators insisted on the candidature of Senator Danjuma Goje for the Presidency of the ninth Senate.
A source in the National Assembly, however, said talks were still being held among key stakeholders in the group called The Independent.
It was further learnt that the group draws support from both chambers of the National Assembly, with the intention of equally producing the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The camp of APC Senators campaigning for the incumbent Senate leader, Ahmed Lawan for the Presidency of the next Senate has begun moves to persuade APC leadership to change its decision on restriction of committee chairmanship positions to only APC Senators.
A member of the group, who is a re-elected Senator, told The Guardian that the hard decision, as announced by APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, a few weeks ago, has been posing a big obstacle to the Ahmed Lawan campaigns.

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