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New Senate President: APC in Name, PDP in Form


By Ibidapo Balogun

It was like the Biblical hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob. A desperate Senator Bukola Saraki emerged the Senate President of the 8th National Assembly with a deal he cut with the Peoples Democratic Party Senators.

He was elected unopposed. Forty-nine PDP and eight APC Senators elected Saraki the new presiding officer of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, and thus Saraki won with the block votes of the PDP.

Fifty-one other APC Senators were absent from the election. In a way Saraki, the former Kwara State governor is only APC in name. He is a former member of the PDP. He was part of the chieftains of the party who broke away to form a new PDP.

Saraki’s emergence is seen as a slap on the face of the leadership of the APC which favoured the emergence of Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe State who was earlier adopted in

The rule of the Senate prescribes a simple majority for the election of Senate President and only about 38 Senators are required to form a quorum to begin the business of the Senate.

With Saraki’s election, the APC lost its majority status with 59 senators to the PDP which has 49 members, though the constitution is not explicit that the Senate President must come from the majority party.

The Senate under Saraki may witness instability as the other group will be plotting his exit from the first day.

The APC has already kicked against the election of Saraki, saying it is unacceptable and a highest form of indiscipline.

The election is a throwback to what happened in 1999 during the rebirth of the country’s renascent democracy when Senator Evan(s) Enwerem was elected on the strength of the votes of the opposition Alliance for Democracy Senators to defeat Senator Chuba Okadigbo, the official candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party.

From that point, a rat race of sort began for Senate presidency among the South-east Senators to which the position was ceded.


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