The North-Central and North-East geo-political zones of Nigeria are currently enmeshed in a fight to finish over which of them will produce the President of the 8th Senate in June this year.
The Street Journal gathers that leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the two zones have engaged in high level lobbying and persuading the party leadership to zone the Senate exalted seat to their respective zones.
Governors from the North-East states, for instance, are said to have met and resolved to rally round a particular Senator from the zone to be elected Senate President in the next Assembly.
They are also said to be in consultation with the party leadership to convince the party leadership to zone the position to the East, which will then make it easy and rancor-free for one of their own to emerge as President of the Senate.
Senator Ali Ndume, re-elected APC Senator for Borno South, for instance, told newsmen in Maiduguri on Wednesday that it was unfair for some senators in the North-Central zone to aspire to the office of senate president.
Ndume said that the North-Central zone had had more than its fair share of the Senate President slot because the current senate president, David Mark, is from the zone.
He argued that, over the years, the North-Central zone had had the privilege of occupying the office while the North-East never had the privilege of producing the nation’s number three position.
Ndume and Senator Abba Ibrahim from Yobe, both ranking Senators from the zone, are said to be strong contenders for the position.
APC leaders from the North-Central zone, on the other hand, are said to be holding series of meetings strategising on how to outwit their North-East opponents in the quest to push through their position and grab the exalted Senate President seat.
They argue that the North-Central zone deserves to retain the position of president of the Senate to compensate the people of the zone for the ‘’massive support’’ they gave the party during last general elections.
To further demonstrate their resolve to achieve this aim, the APC leaders from the zone held a meeting in Abuja at the end of which they issued a strong communiqué on Thursday stating their case for the Senate President seat.
They contended that the zone deserved to be rewarded for its unwavering support for the APC without which the party would not have emerged victorious in the last presidential election, adding that by every consideration, the North-Central zone ought to produce the next senate president.
The communiqué was signed by the APC North-Central Zonal Chairman, Mr Zakari Ede, the Chairman of APC in Kwara State, Hon. Ishola Fulani, Nasarawa State APC Chairman, Mr Philips Tatari, Plateau State APC Chairman, Mr Letep Dabang, Benue State APC Chairman, Mr Abba Yaro, Kogi State APC Chairman, Alhaji Hardy Ametuo, Federal Capital Territory APC Chairman, Abdulmalik Usman and Niger State APC Chairman, Mr. M.J. Imam.
The communiqué said: “It must be noted that since 1999, the North-Central zone even under the People’s Democratic Party has been taking the number three position and with our recent performance, especially in the last general elections, we equally believe that the zone should have the same third position.
“We also like to put on record that the North-Central states delivered five governors and besides winning all our governorship elections, delivered thirteen senators and other National Assembly members including the members of states’ houses of assembly to APC.
“It will be unfair to be treated otherwise after these performances. If the zone has performed and delivered under the APC, we believe we should be adequately rewarded as was done under PDP.
“We need to emphasize here that the North-Central zone is a vulnerable zone and our success and victory should not be taken for granted.”
The party stalwarts maintained that it would, therefore, be equitable and just for the zone to retain the Senate president seat in the 8th Senate.
Foremost contenders for the position from the zone include Senators George Akume and Bukola Saraki, both of whom are ranking Senators.