- By Dele Oni
The election of Presiding officers of the Senate is regulated by the Provisions of its Standing orders, just like other Parliaments across the world, but the choice of who to vote for is a decision of personal conviction of Senators.
The road to the Seat of the Presiding officers of the 10th Senate was a long winding route, bargaining, alignments and realignments, before the General elections of February 2023 it was obvious who stands the chance of leading the 10th Senate as first among equals.
The Pendulum swung around the then Chief Whip and former Governor of Abia state Orji Uzor Kalu who seats in the front row of the hallowed Chamber as the highest ranking APC Senator from the South East, was the swinging of the pendulum too early, it shouldn’t have been because in the history of the National Assembly certain variables are predisposing factors for ascension to the top legislative Throne.
That Senator Godswill Akpabio was the favourite of the ruling All Progressives Congress was not the springboard that handed the gavel to him, we have had cases in the past where Party endorsement for the Position of Presiding officers of the National Assembly was deflected by high level Political alignment and sacrifice.
The choice of Senator Ike Ekweremmadu from the opposition Party as candidate for the position of deputy President of the Senate in the 8th Senate was a product of efforts towards wrestling the Senate President Seat from Senator Ahmad Lawan the then ruling Party’s favourite.
That was a major give and take bargaining that the Saraki camp then had to embrace to garner the spoiler votes against the ruling Party.
The scenario that played out in the 8th Senate resonated in the election of the Presiding officers of the 10th Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio was openly endorsed by the APC and subsequently follow up engagements by Party stalwarts and even the President himself ensued.
This reduced the number of contestants from Ten to four, Godswill Akpabio, Orji Uzor Kalu, Osita Izunaso and Abdulaziz Yari, interestingly this time around there were more contestants unlike the 8th
Senate, which means a bigger opportunity to defeat the rulling Party’s protruding force but gullible application of intuition and poor conscious reasoning gave Akpabio Victory.
At the heat of the pressing Weight of the ruling All Progressives Congress against the other Three contestants, the Senator Abdulaziz Yari’s camp should have taken the decisive decision as recommended to it by well meaning Nigerians, prominent among them, the Leader of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima who pleaded with Senator Abdulaziz Yari to concede the position of the President of the 10th Senate to Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
His reasons were based on natural justice and sound logic, a Christian Senate President from the South East will strengthen the already wobbly National unity, he further explained that Senator Orji Uzor Kalu as President of the 10th Senate and Senator Abdulaziz Yari as Deputy is well accepted in the North and remains the easiest road to the Gavel of the 10th Senate.
A combination of Orji and Yari would have done the damage and set the 10th Senate on the part of self assertiveness from day One.
That was not to be, as the former governor of Zamfara State did not see reasons with the proponent of this school of thought as he succumbed to 17 votes, a costly miscalculation that would have seen a repetition of the 2015 Saraki Versus Lawan drama.