By Ibidapo Balogun
The odds seem to have been stalked against former Kwara State governor and Senator representing Kwara Central, Senator Bukola Saraki, in his bid for the Senate presidency.
Even though revelations have emerged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has re-zoned the office of Senate President from the North Central zone to North East in order to assuage the feelings of the zone which have been crying marginalization at the centre and to checkmate Senate President David Mark who is said to be moving to divide the ranks of APC Senators, WESTERN POST can reveal that certain critical factors are skewed against Saraki.
The former Kwara governor and ex-chairman of the Governors’ Forum and at present Chairman Senate Committee on Ecology, Saraki, is known to be eminently qualified for the job.
Saraki’s aspiration to be Senate president is being powered by the young Turks within the APC led by the outgoing governor of Rivers State and former Director-General of the Muhammadu Buhari Presidential Campaigns, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi.
But the two major power blocs within the party- the President-elect Buhari group and the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu camp- are said to be against Saraki’s aspiration.
The Buhari group is opposed to Saraki because he is said to be too ambitious. “Give Saraki the Senate presidency and you have given him the presidency in 2019,” a prominent member of the group said.
On its part, the Tinubu group was rooting for the present Minority Leader of the Senate, former Benue State governor, Senator George Akume, until the position of Senate presidency was reportedly re-zoned to the North East.
The Tinubu group had preferred Akume who had been leading the APC and the opposition in the Senate to Saraki.
Besides, Saraki is been framed as a Yoruba man from Kwara State in the North Central with his roots allegedly traced to Oke-Ogun in Oyo State.
WESTERN POST learnt that part of the calculation that saw to the alleged rezoning of the Senate presidency to the North East is to checkmate Mark who is said to be rooting for Senator Ahmed Lawan who represents Yobe North in the Senate.
A seasoned lawmaker who did one term in the House of Representatives and has just been elected for a third term in the Senate led Buhari’s presidential campaign in 2007 in the then All Nigeria Peoples Party in 2007 in Yobe State.
The North Central had held the office of Senate president since 2007 and some of the leaders of the party felt it was expedient to zone the office to North East.
The zone is said to have voted massively for Buhari in the election. He was said to have garnered more than 2,5 million votes from the North East.
“If the Senate President David Mark and his PDP Senators back Ahmed and he emerges Senate President, he would be beholden to Mark and PDP as opposed to the APC, so we must support him now,” a source said.
The APC has a majority of 60 Senators in the 8th session of the Senate expected to be inaugurated in June while PDP has 48 Senators.