AHEAD of the inauguration of the 8th Senate where a new Senate President would emerge, strong indications emerged yesterday that the National leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC and former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu may have bowed to pressure from the Senators that he should allow them elect their own Senate President.
Following insistence on the Senators to have their own Senate President without being under intense pressure from ‘ outside’, former Governor Tinubu who has been a strong supporter of Senate Minority leader and former governor of Benue State may have soft- pedalled on him.
It was gathered that feelers at the Induction Course for Senators and members of House of Representatives elect holding at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja may not have gone down well with the APC leader against the backdrop that he was also pushing for the House of Representatives Minority leader, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila from the South West for the Speakership position.
While some Senators want the position of Senate president zoned to North Central and preferably, the Chairman, Senate Committee of Environment and Ecology and former governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki, the former Lagos State governor was said not to be comfortable with Saraki with 2019 political colouration.
According to a source, Tinubu was said not to be supporting Saraki now because with such a position, he may be too powerful come 2019 with the support of Senators and some Governors, he may be eyeing the presidency.
At the moment senators prefer Senate President zoned to the North Central with Saraki, because they see in him the qualities they want in the leader which must be a reflection of the members of Senate without external influence.
With Tinubu now dumping Akume, he may shift his support to a candidate from the North East and a source told Vanguard that the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe may fit in.
Some influential backers behind Akume led by Tinubu have withdrawn their support mainly because they see he is not a reflection of the choice of Senators and any attempt to railroad him will be rejected.
With different aspirants for the position and divergent support from leaders, indications have emerged that if no compromise was arrived at, the race wouldlikely to be thrown open to the contestants from the north east and north central.
A Senator attending the induction programme for national assembly members at the Hilton Hotel, said, “the issue of senate president is the personal issue of the senators so all leaders who are insisting on producing the senate president should know that it is our affair and not the thinking of APC leaders.
“We are going to ensure that our leader emerges among us and not through any form of imposition from any quarters.
“If care not taken, those insisting on taking all will lose all because the north east has almost succeeded in getting majority members to support its desire to produce the speaker of the House of Representatives and if feelers from the party leadership is anything to go by, Tinubu has told his foot soldiers to ceasefire on the Akume project.”
There is also push for Honourable Yakubu Dogara from Bauchi, North East for Speakership just as from South South, Honourable Pally Iriase from Edo State is also a very strong contender for the position and Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin from Kano, North West Zone is also eyeing the position. The feeling is that the South West has the Vice President and should not pick the Speaker as well.