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Senate presidency: Why Tinubu must choose wisely

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By Suleiman Abdulmalik


Elections have been won and lost across the country by the leading political gladiators, their supporters and the various political parties in a general election that generated so much intense pressure and controversies.

While those who lost in the keenly contested poll are already ruing their loss, the winners are, however, savouring the joy of triumph and victory. It is a very well-understood fact that after election comes governance.

One key component issue in the aftermath of the poll is the maintenance of balance of interests and tendencies by those personalities who hold the lever of authority and power. Balance in the sense that all interests and tendencies must and should be carried along in the day-to-day administration of the country as a means to ensuring equity and justice for all as doing otherwise could be counterproductive, just as it could also be the catalyst for chaos and disorder.

This is the scenario that is presenting itself before us in our very own eyes as the country is transiting from one civilian regime to the other. By May 29, 2023, the administration of Muhammadu Buhari is expected to give way for the Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led regime.

However, before the takeoff of the new regime, efforts are being made to put together the right calibre of personalities that are expected to move the nation forward. The president-elect has been meeting with party leaders as well as opinion leaders with varied shades with the aim of securing their inputs before putting together his envisaged team.

One critical area that has continued to attract the attention of Nigerians is the shape and form that the leadership of the National Assembly will take when Tinubu proclaims the Assembly in June this year.

Of particular interest is the jostling for the leadership of the Upper Legislative chambers, the Senate where several individuals and groups have been seen campaigning for themselves and their own. Apart from the array of personalities that have put themselves forward to be elected, leaders of the various geo-political zones have been campaigning vigourously for the office to allotted to their area.

By established tradition, the South-West and North-East, where the president-elect and his vice come from are excluded from this rat race, leaving it open to the other four zones.

While the issue of the Speaker of the House of Representatives seems to have been resolved between the North-West and the North-Central, that of the Senate Presidency has become somewhat intractable.

From all indications, it seems the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have narrowed down their search to the South-South and the South East for the suitable candidate to occupy the office.

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Should that be the case, three personalities would now be in the reckoning for the plum job and they are a former governor of Abia State and current Senate Whip, Senator Orji Uzo Kalu, Senator Osita Izunaso representing Orlu District from Imo state and the immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

Of the three, Izunaso stands out as most qualified to succeed Ahmad Lawan for a number of positive reasons that are known to the leadership of the APC who ought to consider them and throw their lot with his aspiration in the interest of equity, fairness and to reward hard work.

Before going into why the Imo State-born politician towers above others, the credentials of the two others must be put in the public domain and properly scrutinised before the president-elect is saddled with the task of picking his choice.

One clear fact is that he is from the South-East geo-political zone, an area that has continued to cry out loud over perceived marginalisation in the nation’s political space. It is the belief of pundits that the zone be allowed to mount office.

Should that be the case, Izunaso is the best of the two aspirants from the region in terms of loyalty and commitment to the ideals of the party. It is on record that Izunaso was one of the few members of the APC from the South eastern part of the country who stuck their heads and reputation for the party in the region when many people in that area saw the party as a pariah.

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As the pioneer national organising secretary of the APC, it is to his credit that he partnered with other national officers of the party to move the APC forward to the enviable height that it has attained now.

Aside from that, Izunaso is the only candidate who has no baggage coming with him. A calm and suave personality, the politician has over the years cultivated the charm that has continued to draw people from all religious and ethnic persuasions towards his direction.

No doubt, the personalities of Orji Uzo Kalu and that of Godswill Akpabio are very controversial and that is not what the new government needs at this stage of its life when it needs to draw the right calibre of people to itself for effective takeoff.

No doubt the president-elect and the leadership of the APC need to put on their thinking cap and do the right thing, not only in the interest of their party but also in the interest of the country.



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