Electoral umpire conclusion of the National Assembly election which ushered in the 9th National Assembly has drawn a battle line among strong gladiators contending to emerge as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Asiwaju Bola ‘’Jagaban’’ Tinubu, National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) fired the first shot when he roared from his Lagos castle and it echoed in Abuja to Borno that all party lawmakers must support its anointed candidates, Senator Ahmed Lawan for Senate President (Yobe North) and his stooge, Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos) for speaker, any dissenter against party’s position should leave the party.
Jagaban’s threat echoed in the ear of both Ali Ndume (Borno) and Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia) who have indicated their interest to vie for the office of Senate President and Deputy Senate President. Kalu added a caveat to his ambition that if the party is not ready to concede office of the Deputy Senate President to his geo-political zone (South-East) he will challenge Lawan for Senate President.
Ndume has reiterated that no amount of intimidation will make him to jettison his ambition after he emerged from a meeting with another Jagaban’s political stooge, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo passing a message to jagaban that he will not drop his ambition for Lawan.
Aminu Tambuwal has shown the path in 2011 that any member of the parliament can challenge party directive by contesting against party anointed candidate and go scot-free, Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara followed the path in 2015 to make ruling party bled and it is evidence by gladiators that have shown interest in the office of the Senate President and the Speaker that further injury will be inflicted on the ruling party in the 9th National Assembly leadership election.
Senator Danjuma Goje, a former Governor of Gombe state has also shown interest in the office of the Senate President. Goje, a former member of the PDP has thrown his gauntlet to the ring to challenge Lawan with his huge sympathy from his former party members, a joker that will work for him against Lawan.
Geo-political zone affiliation, party loyalty and clamour for independence of the hallow chamber will be determining factors for who will emerge.
As Senator Lawan is gasping to actualize his ambition in the Senate, Femi Gbajabiamila will have to contest against geo-political zone bloc members who want their geo-political zone to have the office of the speaker based on its contribution to the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari victory. The North Central who produced the outgoing Senate President, Bukola Saraki is not ready to be out of the power sharing in the 9th National Assembly.
The North East is pushing for a speaker to emerge from the South East because the South West has occupied the office of the vice president.
APC leadership has not been able to come out with an acceptable sharing formula that all geo-political zones will agree on, the South- East and the South- South lobbying for the office of the Deputy Senate President. Each zone pushing for a bite from the power cookies jar.
Tambuwal’s joker of the 7th House of Representatives will be used again in the 9th National Assembly leadership composition with clamour for legislative independent in its loudest form, with clarion call to prevent a rubber stamp parliament that will be at the mercy of the executive to perform its constitutional right. A parliament that will be able to bark and bite when need arises.
APC in its quest to prevent repeat of what transpired in 2015 will not cede the office of the Senate President and Speaker to any of its members that has eaten from the PDP’s pot in the past before jumping ship to its fold to prevent another Saraki and Dogara actions.
With APC having 65 senators against PDP 37, YPP having just a seat and 6 seats vacate in the upper chamber. APC 211 members in the lower chamber against PDP 111 and other parties sharing 38 seats, the ruling party has the numerical strength to have its candidates to emerge.