Some of the senators-elect, who received certificates of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday, in Abuja, have cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders not to meddle in the emergence of the Senate president and other leaders of the 9th Senate.
This is coming barely two and a half months to the inauguration of the 9th Senate.
The newly elected senators further cautioned the APC and the presidency to manage the issue of the election of the presiding officers of the Senate in such a manner as to ensure peace in the upper chamber as well as harmonious relationship between the lawmakers and the presidency.
Speaking with newsmen at the event, the elected lawmakers, though didn’t rule out the presidency and leadership of the party playing some roles in the emergence of the next Senate leadership, added that they must be careful not to re-introduce fresh crisis.
The newly elected Senator Adedayo Adeyeye (APC, Ekiti South) advised that for the 9th Senate to avoid the leadership crisis that engulfed the 8th Senate, the national leadership of the party must provide the required direction to that effect.
Also speaking, the senator-elect, Bamidele Opeyemi (APC Ekiti Central), suggested that whatever process would be used by the presidency and party leadership must be well managed to avoid any backlash.
He said: “The calibre and character of personalities elected for the 9th Senate are very solid and promising for the country, but leadership is key, the very reason why the leadership of the ruling party must manage well, whatever process it is going to use for emergence of leadership at both chambers this time around.
“Once this is done, the party and, in particular, the National Assembly and the presidency will be on the same page on development-driven bills sponsorship, policy formulations, and approvals.”
The spokesman of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North), told journalists that the lesson learnt in the 8th Senate would be used to prevent the mistakes of the past from happening.
He said: “I was a key player in the leadership configuration of the 8th Senate and the attendant crises that followed. As one of the 43 returnees now, the lessons learnt will be used to prevent the mistakes of the past from happening.”
A twist was, however, added to the leadership race on Thursday as Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South), openly declared for the position of deputy president of the Senate.
Recall that it was reported that Ahmed Lawan (APC, Yobe, North East); Ali Ndume (APC, Borno, North East); Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa, North Central) and Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe, North East) are interested in the position of Senate president.
With Gaya, a senator from North West declaring for deputy and others from North East and Central eyeing the Senate president, the Southern region will have nothing in the Senate if this projection materialises.
Gaya, who declared his intention on Thursday at the International Conference Centre (ICC), after collecting his certificate of return as senator-elect from Kano South into the 9th Senate, told journalists that his aspiration is driven by mass appeal for it from his colleagues and his burning desire to serve in the leadership of the next Senate, having returned for the fourth time.
He said: “I thank the Almighty Allah who granted me the grace of being elected into the Senate for the fourth time.
“As regards the leadership composition of the 9th Senate, majority of my colleagues are mounting pressure on me to run for the position of deputy senate president, which I want to use this opportunity to announce that I’m running for the position, being one the most ranking senators in the 9th Senate.”
He, however, added that his ambition for the position would be determined by permission to that effect by the presidency and the party just as he stated that had Senator Bukola Saraki remained in APC and won, he would have still retained his position as Senate president.