In spite of its denial of not having candidates for the positions of Senate President and Deputy Senate Presidents, there are strong indications suggesting that the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party are planning to field candidates for these two positions.
The opposition party’s renewed interest in the senate positions was as a result of the obvious crack in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the party’s inability to present consensus candidates for the two positions.
Though the ruling party had on several occasions moved to harmomise the positions of the different groups in the party to arrive at consensus, the moves had failed as a major party to the tussle had refused to bend.
Consequently, the opposition party, which sources said had earlier concluded that it could not lead the eighth senate, was bent on capitalising on the division in the ruling party to take over the leadership of the Senate.
The party is waiting to see if the ruling All Progressives Congress will not be able to present a consensus candidate for the office of the Senate President.
Our correspondent gathered in Abuja on Friday night that the PDP had designated some members to monitor the APC’s meetings with the incoming lawmakers on Saturday (today).
It was learnt that although the PDP had said that it would not intervene in the election of the National Assembly leadership, it might review its decision based on the outcome of the APC’s meetings with its lawmakers.
The APC National Working Committee will hold separate meetings with the party’s senators-elect and their counterparts for the House of Representatives in Abuja.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, said that the meetings, which were initially scheduled for Thursday, were postponed to Saturday because of the valedictory session held in the Senate.
The candidates contesting the senate presidency are Senator Bukola Saraki (Kwara State, North-Central) and Senator Ahmed Lawan (Yobe State, North-East).
The APC had said that it would not zone the office to any of the six geo-political zones, just as the two main contestants for the senate presidency have intensified lobby among the 108 senators-elect.
The Senate is made up of 109 senators out of which the APC produced 60 while the PDP has 49 members. However, one of the APC senators-elect from Borno State, Ahmed Zannah, had died leaving the party with 59 members.
It was gathered that the national leadership of the PDP had encouraged its senators-elect to vote for a single candidate for the position of the senate president.
The thinking in the party, it was learnt, was that if its 49 senators-elect could vote for a single candidate, it would not be difficult to get 10 members from divided APC senators to also vote for the PDP candidate.
Any of the aspirants needs a simple majority vote to become the next President of the Senate in an election expected to come up on Tuesday.
”We are waiting for the APC to see if its leadership will be able to settle the issue of who becomes the senate president among the two contenders. “If this fails, we know what to do. We either support the candidates rejected by the APC or we field our own candidates for the position.
“It is just a mere convention that the party with the majority should produce the presiding officer. It is not in the constitution. So, if the ruling party and its senators fail to agree, we will settle the quarrel for them,” a member of the PDP National Working Committee said in Abuja.
However, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, is insisting that the party would not dabble into the affairs of the Senate in particular and that of the National Assembly in general.
“We believe senators are mature, experienced and exposed. They hold mandates of their people and we believe that the election for the Senate presidency and the deputy Senate President should be left for our party members to decide on their own; the PDP has no candidate for the Senate President and deputy Senate President.”