President Bola Tinubu is scheduled to meet with all senators-elect on Thursday, at the presidential villa, Abuja, to discuss national issues, especially the election of presiding officers during the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly on Tuesday, June 13.
But THISDAY gathered that Senate Democratic Caucus, a group of four aggrieved aspirants to the principal positions, might on Friday announce its own consensus candidates for the positions of Senate President and Deputy Senate President.
Nonetheless, a leading contender for the 10th Senate residency, Abdul-Aziz Yari, pledged to work with the administration of Tinubu in the interest of the country if elected Senate President.
In a related development, a pro-democracy group, Coalition for Parliamentary Democracy, in a statement yesterday by its National Coordinator, Dr. Menike Johnson, described the zoning of principal positions in the National Assembly as undemocratic.
Yet, Deputy Speaker of the ninth House of Representatives, Hon. Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), said he remained in the race for Speaker of the incoming 10th House of Representatives.
Tinubu’s invitation to the senators was conveyed in an official letter from the State House to the Senate, and was read on Wednesday by Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over the plenary.
The letter explained that the meeting between the lawmakers and the president would take place at the State House Conference Centre, State House, Abuja, on Thursday, June 8 at 2pm.
The president had initially fixed separate meetings between the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition lawmakers-elect for Sunday and Monday.
The meetings were rescheduled because the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would not allow their members to attend.
The senate president, Ahmad Lawan, observed proceedings from the floor of the chamber on Wednesday, when he allowed his deputy, Omo-Agege, to preside at plenary. Lawan explained that he sat with his colleagues because he was trying to get used to being a floor member, when the 10th Senate would be inaugurated.
Aggrieved Aspirants Set to Unveil Unity List Tomorrow
Senate Democratic Caucus (SDC), comprising four aggrieved aspirants, might announce their consensus candidates for the positions of Senate President and Deputy Senate President, on Friday.
The aspirants were Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara West), Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North), Osita Izunaso (Imo West), and Sani Musa (Niger East).
They formed an alliance against Senator Godswill Akpabio, who was nominated by APC for the position of Senate President, and Barau Jibrin, who was chosen for Deputy Senate President.
The SDC, THISDAY gathered, might agree on who would be Senate President and Deputy President after their meeting on Friday, while the remaining two contenders would be given juicy committees.
Speaking on the development, Chairman of SDC, Senator Abdul Ningi, confirmed that the four aspirants were almost concluding discussions on the matter.
Ningi said, “The discussions are still on-going but we are very much together. We know our strategy and we are not to disclose it yet.”
But Yari, at a different forum, pledged to work with the administration of Tinubu in the interest of the country if elected Senate President.
The former governor of Zamfara State said, “The senate, which I aspire to lead, shall be completely democratic, open and serve only the interest of Nigerians. The senate, under my leadership, will be firm, transparent, purposeful and ensure a cordial working relationship with the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led executive to deliver his vision for a secure, united and prosperous Nigeria.
“I want to assure you that the National Assembly, which we seek to lead, will be stable, proactive, listen to and pursue the genuine aspirations and yearnings of Nigerians.”