OKECHUKWU JOMBO, writes that the 8th senate will witness a change of guards as the All Progressives Congress APC turns from being the minority to the majority party while the Peoples Democratic Party PDP turns the opposition party
The result of the National Assembly election as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has pushed the opposition All Progressives Congress to the majority status in the 109 membership Senate.
Before the election, the Peoples Democratic Party enjoyed the majority status in the red chamber with 64 members while the APC had 41. Other parties, like the Labour Party, the Accord Party and the Social Democratic Party, shared the remaining five seats.
The APC will now have 60 senators while; the PDP, 49 senators. The development will obviously alter the configuration of the Senate leadership in the 8th Senate which would be inaugurated in June this year, because the opposition APC which is currently in the minority would constitute the principal officers.
For instance, the current Senate President, David Mark who is returning to the Senate for the fifth time, will lose his seat to an APC member while the change in gear will also affect other principal officers like the Deputy Senate President, Senate Leader, Deputy Senate Leader, Chief Whip; and Deputy Chief Whip.
Apart from Mark and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, deputy Chief whip, Hosea Agboola who won the election to return to the Senate, other principal officers like the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba; his deputy, Abdul Ningi; Chief Whip, Bello Gwarzo; and, all lost their bid to return.
The current configuration is set to automatically transform the status of the APC members, especially the principal officers from minority to the majority.
For instance, the Minority Leader, Senator George Akume, may likely emerge the new senate president, although some of his colleagues believe that another ranking senator like Senator Bola Saraki should be elected since Mark, his kinsman from Benue man, would be relinquishing the seat after eight years.
Out of all 109 senators only 33 senators cutting across the two parties will return while 74 will not be coming back to the upper legislative chamber for the 8th senate session. This is the highest number we have had since 1999.
Even before the elections around 35 senators didn’t get tickets from their political parties to contest the elections so the signs were already there that a great number was not coming back.
Some of the senators were Aloysius Akpan Etok (Senate Committee Chairman on Establishment and Public Service, Akwa Ibom North-West); Magery Chuba Okadigbo (Anambra North); Basheer Garba Mohammed (Kano Central); Barnabas Gemade (Committee Chairman on National Planning who represents Benue North-East); Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa (Committee chairman on Health, representing Delta North); Chris Nwankwo (Ebonyi North); and Paulinus Igwe Nwagu (Senate Committee Chairman on Police Affairs, representing Ebonyi North).Others are Senators Nkechi Nwogu (Gas Committee Chairman, representing Abia Central), Uche Chukwumerije (Education Committee Chairman, representing Abia North); George Thompson Sekibo (Committee Chairman on Defence and Army, representing Rivers East); Helen Esuene (Women Affairs Committee Chairman representing Akwa Ibom South); Prof. Benedict Ayade (Cross-River North); Sunday Ogbuoji (Ebonyi South) and Chris Anyanwu (Committee Chairman on Navy who represents Imo East).
There are also Ayogu Eze (Committee Chairman on Works representing Enugu North); Senator Victor Lar; Senator Femi Ojudu, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, Victor Ndoma-Egba (Senate Majority Leader representing Cross-River Central, Senator Nnenadi Usman, Senator Muhammed Saleh, Aisha Ahassan, Senator Abu Ibrahim, Bello Mohammed Tukur, Ita Enang, Lokpobiri Heineken, Clever Ikisikpo, Edet Bassey, Edesiri Aguariavwodo, Ehigie Uzamere, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Nurudeen Abatemi Usman, Simeon Ajibola, Mohammed Shaba Lafiagi, Suleiman Asonya Adokwe, Solomon Ewuga, Nuhu Zagbayi, Ibrahim Musa, Gyang Pwajok.
A breakdown of the results indicate that the APC won 60 senatorial seats while the ruling PDP secured 49 seats in the 109-man Senate. Further break down shows that PDP won five senatorial seats in the South West, comprising one in Ondo, one in Ogun and three Ekiti, 15 in the South East, made up of Enugu, Abia, Anambra, Imo and Ebonyi state; 15 in the South-South which is made up of Akwa Ibom state, Edo, Cross River, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers state.
Other Senatorial Seats won by the PDP were five from the North central, made up on in Benue, one in Nasarawa and three in Plateau; and then one seat from the North West state of Kaduna.
The All Progressives Congress, APC won in virtually all the Northern states including one seat from Edo North in the South-South of the country.
In the North East, the APC secured all the senatorial seats in all the six states except Taraba state and one in Gombe state. The party also swept the entire North Western states where they yielded only one seat to the Southern Kaduna senatorial district. The PDP won the sole senatorial seat in Abuja.
Other notable senators who are not making it back include; Chris Ngige, Magnus Abe, Heineken Lopbobiri, Ahmed Makarfi, Olubumi Adetumbi, Smart Adeyemi, Usman Abatemi, who all lost their reelection bid during the last election.