nigerian senate

President-elect General Muhammadu Buhari is in for a fierce battle with corruption in his tenure. He would have to parade his most democratic credentials in dealing with it in the other arms of government, especially the legislaturel. In particular, Buhari would need the best knife in his drawer for this campaign.
Assuming that he has no preferred candidate, as he said, he would still not find working with a stigmatised legislator, or one with a case with the anti-corruption agencies or the police, easy. Besides, Buhari has always emphasised rewarding party loyalty.
Interested in the office of Senate President initially were Senators Bukola Saraki, George Akume, Abdullahi Adamu and Danjuma Goje, all former governors of Kwara, Benue, Nasarawa and Gombe in that order. There are also two ranking senators, Muhammed Ali Ndume from Borno and Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan from Yobe. Without the encumbrances of a background check, all these senators are eminently qualified. However, new alliances have reduced the horses to three: Saraki, Akume and Lawan; while Ndume has filed behind Saraki.
In seeking the office, several issues have been raised by the contestants, including the zoning formula, the most deserving geographical area, balancing quota, the doctrine of necessity up to the most academically qualified senator, all in a bid to outwit one another for the office.
Geographically, the north central has monopolised Senate Presidency since Iyorchia Ayu who served from 1992-1993. Senator Ameh Ebute served in 1993 until the military took over power. Then came incumbent Senate president David Mark, who has occupied the office since June 6, 2007. As Icing on the cake, the north-central has also produced two deputy Senate presidents, Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu from Plateau State and Nassarawa State?s Haruna Abubakar.
In-between, the southeast occupied the office of Senate president during the ?banana peel? era ? Evans Enwerem, 1999-1999; (impeached); Chuba Okadigbo, 1999-2000 (impeached); Anyim Pius Anyim, 2000-2003; Adolphus Wabara, 2003-2005 (resigned) and Ken Nnamani, 2005-2007.
The northwest has, since Hon. Salisu Buhari, also dominated the House of Reps speaker ship. It went to Aminu Masari, Umar Ghali N?Abba, and then to Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. Along the line, Patricia Ette and Dimeji Bankole occupied the office on behalf of the southwest. For deputy speaker, Emeka Ihedioha from the southeast and the south-south?s Chibudom Nwuche from Rivers State can be counted. Therefore, if fairness and equity are the consideration, the north-east deserves it more. The north-east has only the cerebral Usman Bayero Nafada and Babangida Nguroje, variously as deputy speakers on its record, as account for its loyalty to progressive politics.
In assessing all the people seeking to occupy the president?s office, it is important to factor in the type of government that they are coming to work with. A rubber-stamp Senate like the seventh assembly in Jonathan?s time would be unhelpful, just as a Senate president with a blemish would hurt legislation and keep the president walking on egg-shells. For example, although still lacking evidence, his Boko Haram-related case in court might have dissuaded Ali Ndume?s from the race. This leaves the field open for Senator Ahmed Lawan, because many people believe that governors rush to the Senate in search of immunity. This is pronounced now more than ever.
This leaves the race between three horses. However, Akume, for example, is alleged to have questions to answer about his personal life, a wild allegation that can only be left to people with a wild imagination. For Bukola Saraki, who needs immunity more than the Senate presidency, the Societe Generale Bank allegations have been worrisome. Moreover, there are indications that he may use the Senate presidency to feed a hidden ambition, which may overheat the polity prematurely. Ironically, when he showed interest in the presidency in, the Police Special Frauds Unit, SFU, harassed him and he succumbed.
That perhaps is why the Ahmed Lawan option looks like the finest knife in the cupboard. He was elected to the House of Reps in 1999, and has at different times chaired the House committees on education and agriculture.
Academically, he is the most rated, being a PhD holder. He provided superlative representation by paying attention to environmental degradation and poverty in his constituency. If Buhari?s promise to reward loyalty is followed, Lawan has preceded the whirlwind in the APC even in the face of the harshest adversity. Coming from the academia to the legislature, there are no landmines to scare him from presiding on a free and independent Senate, while the north-east has been subservient to other regions for longs enough. So, Lawan and the north-east deserve the presidency of the Senate.


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