Akpabio, Kalu, others begin battle for Senate presidency

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10th National Assembly in June, some senators-elect have begun lobbying for the presidency of the upper chamber.

Aspirants for the top Senate and House of Representatives positions are expected to start declaring interest in their choice positions once the National Assembly resumes from election break on March 14.

Apart from the senate presidency, other positions that will be filled include the speaker of the House of Representatives and deputy senate president as well as the principal offices.

The principal officers are leaders of the majority and minority caucuses, which are largely based on membership configuration in a chamber.

They include the majority leader, deputy majority leader, majority or chief whip, the deputy whip, minority leader, deputy minority leader, minority whip and deputy minority whip. These 10 men and women steer the affairs of each of the Senate and the House.

According to the parliamentary tradition, ranking members – lawmakers serving two or more terms form the leadership of the parliament.

The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners in Abuja on Saturday that the Senators-elect would receive their certificates of return on Tuesday, while their House of Representatives counterparts would get theirs on Wednesday.

So far, according to the INEC chair, the All Progressives Congress won 57 senatorial seats, the Peoples Democratic Party won 29, the Labour Party got six, while the New Nigeria Peoples Party and Social Democratic Party got two each.

On the other hand, the All Progressives Grand Alliance and Young Progressive Party got one seat each.

In the House of Representatives, the APC garnered 162 from the 360 seats, PDP got 102, LP, 34 seats, NNPP 18, APGA four, SDP and ADC got two each, while YPP won one seat.

A majority of the APC senators, including the party’s preferred candidate, Ahmed Lawan were at a meeting with the APC leadership and the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) when Saraki was elected unanimously by the 57 senators present at the session.

Notable individuals who have shown interest in being president of the 10th Senate include Senators-elect Ali Ndume (Borno South), Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Orji Uzoh Kalu (Abia), Jibrin Barau (Kano) and Mohammed Sani Musa (Niger), among others.

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities said the Federal Government, and not its members, are responsible for the union’s prolonged strike. It therefore appealed to Nigerians to ask the government when it will sign the agreement reached at the just concluded renegotiation meeting. The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had on Monday told striking lecturers to consider the future generation and resume work, saying “enough is enough for keeping students at home.” However, ASUU’s National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, in an interview, urged Nigerians to ask the government when it would attend to the union’s demands. He said, “We are waiting for the government after the renegotiation meeting. We have not heard anything from them. “It will be a month on July 16, 2022 since they met with us. Nigerians should ask them when they will ask us to come and sign the report/agreement of the renegotiation meeting. “After all the promises they made, by July 16, 2022, this month, it will be one month and these young Nigerians are languishing at home doing nothing.” While speaking on their salary that was withheld due to the ongoing strike, Osodeke said it was unnecessary to take the government to court over it, adding that the case would be delayed for years if the union did so. “On our withheld salaries, if we decide to take them to court, they will mock us by getting their smart lawyers, and the case will be adjourned for years, then it will go to the appeal court. On the issue that concerns our members, this government will leave and we will be in court for years,” he said. Also, the Zonal Coordinator, ASUU-Lagos, Zone, Dr Adelaja Odukoya, in a statement, accused the President of being insensitive. The National Vice-President, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Dr Abdussobur Salaam, also said, “The government itself has been delaying the process of negotiations. It seems they are comfortable with allowing the strike to linger because there has been no serious commitment to any issues so far. Government must show more commitment towards resolving the issues that led to the strike.” Also, the chairperson of ASUU in the Federal University of Minna, Dr Gbolahan Bolarin, accused the President of playing psychological games by involving the future generation in his statement. Meanwhile, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), also on Tuesday called on Buhari to urgently address ASUU’s needs. Falana, in a statement accused the government of ignoring warning strikes initially embarked upon by the union. Efforts to reach the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on the fresh efforts to end the ongoing strike by ASUU proved abortive as messages and calls to his known line were not answered as of the time of filing this report.

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