By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
With about 46 Senators now in its kitty, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is weighing options as regard the next President of the Senate, the The Source has learnt.
An impeccable party source lists the options as follows: Cash in on the division in the ranks of the All Progressives Congress, APC, fresh and returning Senators over the party’s choice for the top Senate position to spring a surprise by sponsoring a ranking PDP Senator for the position with an APC Deputy; align with Senator Ali Ndume (Borno) and, then, produce a PDP Deputy Senate President, or go the whole hog to produce both the Senate President and Deputy Senate President.
It was learnt that the opposition party is emboldened in its resolve by the virtual collapse of Senator Ahmed Lawan’s Senate Presidency project. The Yobe Senator is being backed for the job by the National leadership of the APC led by Adams Oshiomhole and National leader, Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
Recently, the party pronounced the position zoned to the North East and, named Senator Lawan its choice. It also zoned the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives to the South West with Femi Gbajabiamilia as preferred choice. However, the move has been met with more jeers rather than cheers.
Many new and returning APC national Assembly members have vowed to resist the imposition. In the Senate, Senator Ndume has not only scoffed at his party’s move but has gone ahead to unfold his agenda if elected Senate President. Contrary to the missinformation in the public domain, Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe) is also still in the race.
The Source was told that out of APC’s 63 Senators, at least 36 are poised to queue behind Ndume and Goje. PDP’s calculation is, therefore, to throw up its own candidate who will receive a bloc vote of its 43 Senators while three APC contenders-Ndume, Goje and Lawan split 63 votes.
While hawks among the PDP Senators favour the clinical upstaging of the APC by springing a PDP Senate President and Deputy Senate President on the ninth Senate or a less harsher coup in the form of a PDP Senate President and APC Deputy, dovish elements among the PDP Senators argue that for the sake of peace and stability in the ninth Senate, the Senate Presidency should be conceded to the APC while the PDP produces the Deputy.
If the PDP eventually settles for an APC Senate President, Ndume, it was gathered, will reap from this dovish compromise. He is reportedly to be paired either with the out- going Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu)or Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia). Ndume, this magazine, was informed, has reached out to the PDP Senators in this regard.
However,if the PDP dominates the voting process on the floor of the Senate on the day of inauguration, and decides to allow APC a breather, Ndume, may dramatically emerge Deputy Senate President under a PDP Senate President, it was gathered.
“On the other hand, PDP going all out to grab the main prizes will result in the Senate Presidency of either Ekweremadu or Abaribe with a Northern PDP Senator, possibly from Taraba, as his Deputy”, The Source was told.
Apparently aware that any misstep on APC’s side will cause the Party the two topmost Senate positions, National Assembly sources reveal that many APC Senators- new and returning- are frantically working to prevail on their PDP colleagues to settle for the middle course arrangement of an APC Senate President and PDP Deputy. “What this means is that Senator Lawan’s dream of mounting the saddle as Senate President in June has once again evaporated”, one of the sources said
“I can authoritatively tell you that Senator Lawan cannot be Senate President. His sponsors and marketers are persons Nigerians across party line are suspicious of. Like it happened in 2015, his aspiration has already been torpedoed.The next Senate President is certainly Ndume. Goje will eventually stand down for him, both of them are working together. And the next Deputy Senate President is a PDP Senator. We are having hybrid Senate again. Take this to the bank”, another source told the magazine.