Senators elect from the South- South geo political zone, are strongly in the race to emerge the Senate President of the incoming 10th National Assembly, this newspaper can reveal.
President elect, Bola Tinubu, had met senators and members elect of the House of Representatives in Abuja, last week.
Though he made it clear that he has no choice for the Senate presidency, there are emerging indications that there are serious top contenders from the South- South zone
Senator elect for Akwa Ibom North West, Godswill Akpabio, is alleged to be interested in the seat and may have the backing of top chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, APC for the plum job.
Former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomole, though a first time Senator to the Senate, may also be in contention on the basis that “he enjoys a robust relationship with Asiwaju”
But sources say that both Akpabio and Oshimole’s bid are “nullified on the basis that they are first time senators and this factor may not work in their favour”
Oshiomole has not indicated interest to be President of the Senate.
After 1999, Senate Presidents have been two or three time senators.
Within this period, the South East produced three Senate Presidents- Evan Enwerem, Chuba Okadigbo (both late) and Adolphus Wabara.
The South- South zone is yet to produce a Senate President. The closest it came, is the position of Deputy Senate President, currently held by Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege from Edo State.
However, Senators elect from the South East are not relenting in their pursuit for the seat. Several groups have called for a Senate President from the region “to foster inclusiveness and national cohesion”
Senate Chief Whip and former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, and former National Organizing Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Osita Izunaso, are the top contenders from the South East in the race for the top job. Both are ranking Senators.
Those pushing for a South- South Senate President say it is the turn of the region.
One of the proponents of a Senate President from the region said “The South-south delivered close to a million votes to the APC compared to the a hundred thousand votes that the party secured in the Southeast in the presidential election.
“The region also delivered the required 25% across all the states in the region and produced seven senators compared to the Southeast which did not deliver 25% in some of the South East states and produced six senators.
“Besides, the South East has been hostile to the APC despite all that President Muhammadu Buhari did in the region, particularly in areas of infrastructure.