As June 13th, the date for the inauguration of the 10th Senate draws nearer, controversy still surrounds the position of who will lead the legislative arm of government as different contestants throw their hats in ths ring.
Senator Godswill Akpabio, All Progressives Congress senator-elect from Akwa Ibom State has been endorsed by his through a zoning seldction system.
However some members of the incoming senate have revolted against Akpabio’s choice, stating that the position should be filled by someone who has been selected by senators themselves.
This brought about several candidates who have openly announced their campaign for the position.
In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Wednesday, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe representing Lagos East spoke on how best the issue should be resolved.
Ogunlewe stated that to be fully accepted, Akpabio would have to gain the trust of his colleague in the legislature so as to secure his position.
According to Adeseye, “It depends on senator Akpabio now. What is he offering other groups? How much war chest does he have because people in national assembly would like to go back to their constituency with something to show and that is a problem. Leave the party, the party has endorsed you. All the going to the villa and so will hardly work. Talk to the senators that will vote for you. What do you have for them?”
Directly addressing Akpabio he added, “Leave all those people following you into villa. What can they do? You are giving them opportunities to say look, ‘you are are going to be dictated to by the executive.’ So talk to your colleagues. Address their problems. Get into them. Let them have confidence in you so that on that day they will vote for you. “
Candidates including Abdulazeez Yari, former Governor of Zamfara State, Orji Kalu,, former Governor of Abia State, amongst others have come out to contest for the position of Senate President echoing their belief that the position should be given to someone elected based on competence and quality leadership, not a person selected by the executive arm through the zoning system.
Ogunlewe said the party’s fear of allowing the senate have their choice is based on the fear of “unseen hands” influencing the choices of the candidate whose loyalties lie with making decisions in the “midnight”.
“Nigeria is not what we see in the day. Nigeria is run in the midnight. And members of the senate, they have very powerful mentors who bankroll them, bankroll their election into the senate.
“They would listen to those people in the midnight before the morning of the election. So if you don’t get the trust of some people, you’ll be stranded, because they listen to people who you don’t see or know.
“That is the problem we have , as you see them talking, they are relating to their masters.”
Adeseye strongly stated that for the senate to fully function, the Senate President would be someone who is willing to work with the President and his executives.
“As I was saying there is nothing to fear, whether religion, zoning, ethnicity. It depends on the disposition of Mr. President. Don’t act arbitrarily. Consult with people, have lobbyists. Talk to them. Whoever is the senate president to me doesn’t matter. I’ve been there before. It depends on the contact and confidence they have in the presiden.”
Ogunlewe insisted another deep pockets are required to excel politically in Nigeria.
“Nigerian politics is not for the poor, it’s for the rich. If you don’t have enough funds, don’t come into politics. You will never get through. A poor man can never say ‘I’m a senator’ or ‘I want to be the president of the senate’. You must be able to stand very solid to be able to play politics in Nigeria.
“Senators are not poor people. No body going to be a senator today is a poor person.”