To what extent can former governors in the Senate influence the choice of who becomes President of the 9th Senate? The elected former governors in the upper chamber are plotting to influence who will be principal officers when the Ninth Assembly is inaugurated in June.
powerful former governors, taking advantage of their upscale status, are planning to “play a major role” in who takes over from Senate President Bukola Saraki. How will it happen?
Saraki, a two-time senator and former Kwara State governor, lost his bid to return to the Red Chamber on February 23. He lost the Kwara Central Senatorial seat to his All Progressives Congress (APC) challenger, Yahaya Ibrahim Oloriegbe. The former Kwara State helmsman was elected President in 2015.
Sources told The Nation that the former governors had been meeting in Abuja to perfect their plans. One of the meetings was said to have been held last Sunday in the Asokoro, Abuja home of one of the ex-governors.
Sixteen former governors have been elected into the Ninth Senate. Ten of them are ranking senators, having either been former members of the House of Representatives or senators. The remaining six will have to cut their teeth in lawmaking.
Being a ranking senator will pave the way for a senator to vie for any position of leadership in the Senate.
The former governors are: Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu); outgoing Borno State Governor Ibrahim Shettima; outgoing Nasarawa State Governor Tanko Al Makura; outgoing Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam; former Kano State Governor Ibrahim Shakarau; outgoing Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun; outgoing Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha; former Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam and former Nasarawa State Governor; Abdullahi Adamu.
Others are: former Gombe State Governor Mohammed Danjuma Goje; former Abia State governors Orji Uzor Kalu and Theodore Orji; former Kano State Governor Kabiru Gaya; former Sokoto State Governor Aliyu Wamakko; outgoing Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari and former Kebbi State Governor Adamu Aliero.
A source privy to the plan of the ex-governors described them as “a formidable bloc”. The source said their alleged plot to determine the flow of issues in the Senate should not be taken lightly.
“When I confronted one of them, he merely told me they were meeting to rub minds on how to be relevant in the affairs of the Ninth Senate. I know it is more than just to be relevant in the Senate. There is more to it. You know that the issue of who takes over from Saraki is at stake, going forward,” the source said, pleading not to be named.
Asked how far the former governors can go to cause upset in the election of the Senate President, he insisted that “these are not people you take for granted, especially when it is obvious that nobody is elected to play second fiddle in the Senate”.
The source said that he was also aware that zonal meetings of senators-elect were being held to articulate how to push the interests of zones in sharing leadership positions in the Senate.
No zones, he said, don’t want to be left out “no matter the position of parties.”
“For instance, I know that the Southeast and Southsouth senators-elect have been meeting to lobby for Senate President with the understanding that President Muhammadu Buhari is from the North, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is from the Southwest, acting Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Tanko Mohammed, is also from the North,” the source said.
The source added: “The way and manner the All Progressives Congress (APC), which will form the majority party in the Senate, handles the allocation of leadership positions will go a long way to determine the face of the Ninth Senate.”