SENATE LEADERSHIP: APC dumps Sen.Orji Uzor Kalu, strikes deal for Bamidele, Ndume, Umahi

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) may have struck a peace deal to douse the tension unleashed by the scramble for majority principal offices in the National Assembly.

The party arrived at a template to accommodate the heavyweights jostling for offices yesterday, after consultations with the various blocs of influence in the party.

It was gathered that the party may write Senate President Godswill Akpabio and House of Representatives Speaker Tajudeen Abbas today or tomorrow.

According to a source, the party concluded that all the aspirants for the principal offices are qualified.

The APC leadership, however, arrived at a “win-win template last night”.

The source said the power-sharing formula in the Senate is as follows: Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central, Southwest, Senate Leader); Dave Umahi (Ebonyi South, Southeast, Deputy Senate Leader); Ali Ndume (Borno South, Northeast, Chief Whip) and Lola Ashiru (Kwara South, Northcentral, Deputy Chief Whip).

The source added: “With this formula, the party expects a stable Senate. Hopefully, our senators will adopt this.

“The party doesn’t need to foist leadership on the Senate, but at the same time, we cannot be watching our senators split over a manageable situation.

“Both Bamidele and Ndume in particular are highly experienced. They also contributed to the emergence of the President of the Senate, Sen. Akpabio. It, therefore, became necessary to design a template formula for peace in the upper chamber.”

In the House of Representatives, a similar peace formula was struck last night.

Another source said: “So far, a consensus has been built around Prof. Julius Ihonvbere (Owan Constituency, Edo State, Southsouth) as the Majority Leader, Dauda Kumo (Akko Constituency, Gombe State, Northeast) as the Chief Whip and Woman Rep Adewunmi Onanuga (Ikenne/Sagamu/Remo Constituency, Ogun State, Southwest) as Deputy Chief Whip.”

The deputy leader position was being finalised last night.

A member of the National Working Committee (NWC) confirmed the party’s breakthrough.

He said: “The APC leadership may write letters to the leadership of the two chambers.

“What is delaying it was the trip of the National Chairman of the party, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, to Nasarawa State for a check-up.”

A source said the minority caucuses are still brainstorming on the choice of officers.

It was learnt that the Senate Minority Caucus may consider a woman senator for a principal office.

Also, in the House of Representatives, Kingsley Chinda from Rivers State, Soutsouth, is the likely choice for minority leader.

A member of the Labour Party (LP) was on the drawing board as Deputy Minority Leader.

The source also hinted that Senator Kolo Kingibe (LP, FCT) might become a minority principal officer.

**Moro: I’m interested in becoming Senate Minority Leader*
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The Senator representing Benue South Senatorial District, Patrick Abba Moro, confirmed that he is bidding for the position of minority leader.

He said in an interview at the weekend that he has what it takes to effectively lead the opposition senators to achieve the best for Nigerians in the lawmaking process.

“Yes, we are in the process of selecting minority leader. The process is on, and of course, I’m interested in becoming the minority leader of the Senate because I think I am qualified to be.

“I come from a region, a zone that is sometimes neglected so to say. I won’t call it marginalisation but neglect. And that is the Northcentral zone.

“So, we expect that the PDP will zone the minority leader to Northcentral. And if that happens, we have a parliamentary procedure that respects ranking in addition to other qualifications.

“There are so many persons that are also eminently qualified to be minority leader within the rank of the PDP. It’s a dominant opposition political party with 36 senators out of 50.

“So, we hope that at the end of the day when all the dynamics come into play, the party and the parties involved will do the needful and the right thing to get it right for Nigeria so that the Senate can kick start the implementation of its agenda for the Nigerian people,” Moro said.

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