PDP Plots To Produce Senate President, APC Plots Counter Moves
A few days to the convening of the eighth National Assembly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has launched a plot to take the Senate presidency from the All Progressives Congress (APC) which controls the majority of senators.
The plot, if it succeeds, may lead to the return of outgoing Senate President David Mark and his deputy Ike Ekweremadu to their positions.
It was learnt that PDP leaders at the party’s retreat in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, for its senators-elect and members of the House of Representatives-elect mooted the idea of the opposition retaining the senate presidency.
It directed its 49 senators to vote for one candidate when the eighth Senate convenes.
The APC is left with 59 Senators following the death of reelected Borno Senator Ahmed Zanna.
Although APC ought to produce the next President of the Senate, with its simple majority, the party has not reached a consensus.
Senate Committee on Public Accounts Chairman Ahmed Lawan and Ecology Committee Chairman Bukola Saraki are locked in a battle of popularity for the job.
It was gathered that the PDP leaders agreed that with block votes by its 49 senators, the party could win the must coveted seat with a simple majority.
The permutation of the PDP is that APC might be unable to birdge the gap between Lawan and Saraki.
A highly-placed source said: “The PDP leaders held a secret meeting in Port Harcourt on Monday night to finetune the plot.
“The development may see Mark and Ekweremadu joining the race in a ‘tactical moment’ if the APC remains divided.
“The PDP is seeking to retain the office because there is no rule which says either the majority party or the opposition should produce the president of the Senate.”
The source cited Section 50 (1) of the 1999 Constitution to back the lacuna.
The section says: “There shall be a President and a Deputy President of the Senate who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves…
”But the APC is not taking chances. It has summoned a meeting of its lawmakers to forge a united front.
Apparently sensing the danger in going into the Senate presidency race divided, the APC leadership has called a meeting of its senators and Representatives for tomorrow in Abuja.
A statement by National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed inviting the lawmakers to the meeting did not reveal the agenda. It only urged them to be punctual at the International Conference Centre venue.
The meetings with the senators and the Reps will hold separately.
It was, however, learnt that the meetings might be used to galvanise a consensus.