Ahead of the June 1, 2015 inauguration of the next National Assembly, the All Progressives Congress, APC, which won majority of the seats in the Senate at the March 28 elections, is now divided over who becomes the Senate President from its fold.
While the APC’s leadership led by its National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, have endorsed incumbent Senate Minority Leader, George Akume, governors elected under the party’s platform want Senator Bukola Saraki to be the next Senate President.
Top party leaders told Nigerian Pilot at the weekend that the APC hierarchy is more comfortable with Senator Akume as Senate President because of his experience as a former governor, three-term senator, who also delivered his Benue State to the APC at the last presidential election.
The APC chieftains claimed that Akume enjoys the backing of Odigie-Oyegun, his predecessor, Chief Bisi Akande and Tinubu.
They disclosed that Senator Saraki from Kwara State is being favoured by all the APC governors who believe that he has the experience too and political exposure to be the nation’s “Number Three” leader.
An APC Governor form the North-West zone was on air during the collation of the results of the presidential election, congratulating Saraki as the new Senate President and for delivering his state to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
One of the APC sources said that the party hierarchy will take a stand on the issue after the Easter break.
Nigerian Pilot further learnt that Akume, Saraki and Senator Abdullahi Adamu from Nasarawa State are top contenders for the Senate President seat currently occupied by David Mark from Benue State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The APC had tentatively zoned the position of the Senate President to the North Central after its national convention last December, following the emergence of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, from the North-West as the party’s presidential candidate and his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo from the South-West zone.
There are indications that 64 APC senators may return to the National Assembly while the PDP and other parties account for the others.
Incidentally, all the three APC Senators jostling for the Senate Presidency are former governors of their respective states.
The North-East APC Senators are also making a case for the position of the Senate President to be zoned to their region.
The party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, is expected to take a decision on a power-sharing arrangement when its members return from the Easter break.