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Race for 9th Assembly begins as Gaya tackles Tinubu, others

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As race for the 9th Senate leadership hots up, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South) has joined the list of ranking lawmakers jostling for the position of Deputy Senate President, DSP.

Other senators who have been linking to the position from the South if the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC zoned the Senate Presidency to the North, are Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central), Aja Borrofice (APC, Ondo North), former Senate Leader, Teslim Folarin (APC Oyo Central) and the outgoing Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun.

Gaya, a former Kano State governor, is one of the rankings among the 43 re-elected senators of the outgoing 8th Senate and presently chairman, Senate Committee on Works.

He told journalists on Thursday at the International Conference Centre, ICC, Abuja after collecting his certificate of return that his aspiration is driven by mass appeal for it from some of his colleagues and burning desire to serve in the leadership of the next senate having returned for the fourth time.

“I thank the Almighty Allah who granted me the grace of being elected into the Senate for the fourth time.

“As regards the leadership composition of the 9th Senate, majority of my colleagues are mounting pressure on me to run for the position of Deputy Senate President which I want to use this opportunity to announce that I’m running for the position being one the most ranking senators in the 9th Senate.

“By God’s grace and with the permission of the leadership of the party and the Presidency, I will run for the office of Deputy Senate President”, he stressed.

Gaya, however, stated that had Dr. Bukola Saraki remained in APC and won his re-election, he would have still retained his position as the Senate President.

His ambition strongly indicate that the position of Senate President may be zoned to the South East where a ranking senator in person of Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu (APC, Imo North), has emerged and not North East where the much touted person for the position, Senator Ahmad Lawan comes from.

Before Gaya’s open declaration for DSP’s position, the focus has been on Senators Lawan (APC, Yobe North), Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South) and Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe Central) for the position of Senate President.

But the leadership positions for the 9th senate are still open as far as many of the APC senators-elect are concerned.

In separate interviews granted at the ceremony, many of them said the presidency and leadership of the party, will give direction to that effect.

Specifically, Senator-elect Adedayo Adeyeye (APC, Ekiti South) said for the 9th Senate to avoid the leadership crisis that engulfed the 8th Senate, the National leadership of the party must provide the required direction to that effect.

However Senator – elect Bamidele Opeyemi (APC, Ekiti Central) in his own suggestion for frictionless leadership configuration in the 9th Senate said whatever process that will be used by the presidency and party leadership must be well managed to avoid any backlash.

“The calibre and character of personalities elected for the 9th Senate are very solid and promising for the country but leadership is key, the very reason why the leadership of the ruling party must manage well, whatever process, its going to use for emergence of leadership at both chambers this time around.

“Once this is done, the party and in particular, the National Assembly and the presidency will be on the same page on development-driven bills sponsorship , policy formulations and approvals”, he said.

Allaying the fears of Nigerians on possible leadership crisis in the 9th Senate as it was in the 8th Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger North), told journalists at the event that required lessons to be learnt from the leadership squabbles of the 8th Senate have been learnt as such will not repeat itself again.

“I was a key player in the leadership configuration of the 8th Senate and the attendant crises that followed, as one of the 43 returnees now, the lessons learnt will be used to prevent the mistakes of the past from happening”, he said.

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