Five out of the 64 senators-elect of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have signified their intention to run for the position of Deputy Senate President (DSP) of the ninth National Assembly ahead of its inauguration in June.
This is coming just as Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, directed all his legislative aides to prepare their handover notes before the 8th Senate winds down in June.
Those angling to take over as DSP from Senator Ike Ekweremadu include ranking Senators Kabiru Gaya (North-west), Francis Alimikhena (South-south), Ovie Omo-Agege (South-south), Ajayi Boroffice (South-west) and first term Senator-elect Orji Uzor-Kalu (South-east).
The aspirants have since commenced consultations and campaigns among both returning and fresh Senators about their ambition.
Sources told THISDAY that the aspirants have intensified their campaigns by meeting with both APC and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senators-elect and stressing the need for their colleagues to vote for them.
One of the aspirants, Senator Boroffice (Ondo North) on his part, has written formally to all the senators-elect seeking their endorsement as DSP.
He stated that he was seeking the support of the senators-elect across party lines based on his proven experience having been in the upper legislative chamber since 2011 and currently serving as Chairman of the Senate Committeee on Science and Technology
Boroffice’s letters of intent which he personally signed were sent to the offices of returning senators at the National Assembly complex on Monday while that of fresh Senators were dispatched same day by courier.
Gaya (Kano South), the first to officially declare his interest shortly after his re-election in March has been in the Senate since 2007 and is the Chairman of Senate Committee on Works.
Alimikhena (Edo North), who is Vice Chairman of Senate Committee on Housing and is returning for a second time, has been discreetly canvassing for votes from his colleagues.
On his part, Omo-Agege, who won election into the Senate in 2015 on the platform of the Labour Party (LP) before defecting to APC in 2016, was last week formally endorsed by the South-south APC chairpersons.
In a letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari and signed by all the six APC Chairmen, they said Omo-Agege was being endorsed because of his loyalty to President Buhari as well as the federal government.
Kalu (Abia Central), a former two-time governor of Abia state and a fresh Senator said he believed the APC will zone the position of DSP to the South East.
Kalu, who made his intention known at the orientation programme held for federal legislators-elect in Abuja last month, has continued to impress it upon his colleagues why he should be elected DSP having served as a member of the House of Representatives during the Third Republic.
Although the national leadership of the APC had only officially zoned the Senate Presidency to the North-east, there are indications that the DSP may be zoned to the South-south
Meanwhile, the Senate President has mandated his legislative aides to prepare their handover note ahead of the termination of the Eighth Senate in June.
In a one-page memo titled ‘Handover Notes’ and signed by his Chief of Staff, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Saraki directed his legislative aides to prepare their handover notes “that should include name, rank/designation, basic responsibilities, key achievements under your mandate/responsibilities, assignments you are currently engaged in and any other matter you may wish to place on record that will assist the new Senate.”
Saraki further reminded the legislative aides that “the Ninth Senate will benefit from a comprehensive document detailing records of our individual mandates and assignments, major activities undertaken as well as advise on consolidating achievements of the Office of the President of the Eighth Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki.”.