Fresh indications emerged on Monday that the South-West geo-political zone would produce the next Deputy Senate President based on the ranking rule of the upper chamber which gives preference to returning senators.
A critical analysis of the incoming 8th Senate indicated that with a simple majority in the chamber, the All Progressives Congress’ members are expected to emerge as, Senate President; Deputy Senate President; Senate Majority Leader; Chief Whip; Deputy Majority Leader and Deputy Chief Whip.
A ranking senator, who preferred anonymity, told our correspondent that the APC Senate Caucus members were pushing for the Deputy Senate President slot to be filled by the South-West since the North-Central and the North-East were currently battling to produce the Senate President.
He said South-South and the South-East would only produce the Minority Leader, Deputy Minority Leader, Minority Whip, and Deputy Minority Whip because none of the senators from the zone, either new or old, was a member of the APC which would constitute the majority in the 8th Senate.
He said the North-West was expected to fill the slot of the Senate Leader, because there were many ranking APC senators from the zone.
But further investigations by our correspondent in Abuja revealed that there was a simmering battle among members of the incoming 8th Senate, as some new entrants were allegedly insisting that the ranking rule be set aside during the composition of the Senate leadership.
A ranking senator confided in our correspondent on Monday that some fresh senators, believed to have strong godfathers were also lobbying party elders to be elected as principal officers.
The returning senators, he added, were however insisting on the application of Senate Standing Orders 2011 (as amended) during the inauguration of the 8th Senate on June 4.
The rule stipulates that any senator who has been elected and has been re-elected into the chamber, has advantage over a member who is newly elected into the chamber.
Chapter II (2) of the Senate rules specifically removes any ambiguity about the status of Senators in the chamber.
The rule titled, “Election of presiding and other officers states that in determining ranking states that, “the following order shall apply: (i) Senators returning based on number of times re-elected; (II) Senators who had been members of the House of Representatives; and (iii) Senators elected as Senators for the first time.”
Based on this ranking rule, only senators who had been re-elected based on the number of times he had won elections in to the Senate, are expected to form the nuclei of the leadership.
Attempts to find out details of the meeting allegedly held in Abuja by the APC Senate Caucus were unsuccessful as some of the senators contacted denied knowledge of the meeting.
For instance, Senator Robert Boroffice (Ondo North) said, “I am in Ondo State at the moment. We are resuming tomorrow (Tuesday), and I don’t have any invitation to attend any meeting.”