Senate Leadership: Fresh Tussle Resumes As Ndume, Bamidele, Others Battle For Leadership Positions

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Senate Leadership: Fresh Tussle Resumes As Ndume, Bamidele, Others Battle For Leadership Positions

Less than one week after a bitter campaign for the positions of the President of the Senate and the Deputy, a fresh leadership tussle is brewing in the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly.

This time, eight positions are up for grabs in the Senate. They are Majority Leader, Chief Whip, Deputy Majority Leader, Deputy Chief Whip, Minority Leader, Minority Whip, Deputy Minority Leader and Deputy Minority Whip.

According to existing Senate practices, geopolitical zones that didn’t produce the President of the Senate and the Deputy, are expected to occupy the key positions, especially in the ruling party.

The four geopolitical zones expected to be locked in battle for the positions are the North East, North Central, South East and South West.

Already, the South-South and North West have produced the President of the Senate and the Deputy respectively, knocking then off the contest.

In the case of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the National Working Committee (NWC) is expected to announce the zoning. However, the NWC is bound by convention to secure the approval of the President before announcing the names.

For the position of the Majority Leader of the Senate, only two contenders have indicated interest. They are Mohammed Ali Ndume and Opeyemi Bamidele.

Ndume served as the Director-General of Akpabio Campaign Council, while Bamidele was his Deputy. Ndume hails from North-East and Bamidele is from South-West.

Ndume served as Leader of the 8th Senate. He also served as Minority Leader in the House of Representatives.

The Borno South senator is one of the most ranking lawmakers and among the long-serving in the National Assembly. He was elected into the National Assembly in 2003 as a member of the House of Representatives.

Bamidele was also in the House of Representatives, where he served as the Chairman of the House on Adhoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs. He also served as a member of the House Committee on Education, Judiciary, Constitution Review, Housing and Habitat, State and Local Government

In the Senate, Bamidele has been Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

For the position of the Chief Whip, there are claims that a ranking senator from the South East may clinch the position. The two most ranking senators from the South East are Orji Uzor Kalu, the current Senate Chief Whip and Osita Izunaso.

On the minority side, former governor of Bayelsa State Seriake Dickson is the frontrunner for the position of the Deputy Minority Leader of the Senate.

Though yet unconfirmed, there are claims that Adamu Aliero who recently defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is contesting for the position. Aliero hails from Kebbi State.

The NWC of the PDP, in consultation with other political parties in the Minority Caucus, are expected to produce other minority principal positions.

AttNews has gathered that Northern senators are protesting, especially Muslims, who claim that they’ve been sidelined in the leadership scheme of the upper legislative chamber.

According to multiple sources, the lawmakers are opposed to the emergence of a Christian as the Leader of the Senate, arguing that a Christian has already emerged President of the Senate.

A source told AttNews that the lawmakers may take their complaint to the NWC of APC and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to register their alleged ‘marginalisation’.

The senator said: “Religion was never an issue in the National Assembly. There was a time David Mark was the President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu was the Deputy President of the Senate and Ndoma Egba was the Leader of the Senate.

“These three people were all Christians and nobody complained. Goodluck Jonathan who is also a Christian was the President of Nigeria.

“When the National Assembly leadership contest started, religion was made a dominant issue. It was Christianity versus Islam.

“Going forward, it will be difficult to ignore religion in our polity. Bamidele is banking on the support of Tinubu to emerge as Leader of the 10th Senate. But can he curtail the excesses of Northern senators or former governors? Can he protect President Tinubu in the Senate?

“Northern senators who feel cheated in the Senate won’t let go of this easily, I can assure you. We need to create a balance and NWC of APC needs to balance this so that they won’t create bad blood.”

Ndume, in a brief telephone chat, told AttNews that he is in the race to emerge as Leader of the 10th Senate. He didn’t provide further details.

Bamidele didn’t respond to calls, neither did he return the calls.

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By Abia ThinkTank

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