Monday, May 2, 2011

Saraki, Goje battles Mark for Senate presidency

Saraki, Goje may battle David Mark for Senate presidency 
The outgoing Kwara State governor and senator-elect, Bukola Saraki, and his Gombe State counterpart, Danjume Goje, may be heading for a battle with the Senate President, David Mark, as they have reportedly shown interest in occupying the number three position.

Both governors were elected senators on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the April 9 parliamentary elections to represent Kwara Central senatorial district and Gombe Central senatorial district respectively. Mr Mark, also of the PDP, was re-elected to represent Benue South senatorial district for the fourth time since the return of democracy in 1999.

It was learnt that both Mr Saraki and Mr Goje are already positioning themselves for the job even though the party's hierarchy is yet to meet to decide the zoning formula for the next dispensation. The party, reports say, is billed to meet soon to decide on the zoning of the offices of the presiding officers of the Senate and the House of Representatives as well as other principal offices. According to the current formula, the North-Central produced the senate president while the office of the deputy senate president was produced by the South-East. In the House of Representatives, the speaker is produced by the South-West zone while his deputy is from the North-East zone.

However, the results of the recent elections may have made it inevitable for the re-zoning of the offices. Bode Olajumoke and Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, both from the South-West zone, who had shown interest in the position before the elections, lost their seats to their Labour Party (LP) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) challengers in the April 9 parliamentary polls.

At the height of the PDP zoning controversy last year, President Goodluck Jonathan had said that the National Assembly offices are only zoned by the party after the election of the president and vice president.

"The office of the President and other elective offices like the senate presidency, speaker and National Assembly officers, the PDP has reasonable control as long as we are in the majority. Those offices could be zoned. But before you zone those offices, the president and the vice president would have first emerged," Mr Jonathan said.

Going by the result of the elections, the ruling party has the majority of the senators-elect with over 60 of them while the Action Congress of Nigeria, which came second, has about 14. The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has six senators-elect, All Nigeria Peoples Party 7, the Democratic Peoples Party 1, LP 3 and All Progressives Grand Alliance 1. The PDP also won majority of the seats in the House of Representatives.

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