AS Senators resume today from their two-week recess immediately after the formal inauguration, June 10, principal officers that will run the affairs of the red chambers would emerge today with both the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP caucuses producing their officers.
Also job seekers have since yesterday besieged the premises of the national Assembly, seeking for employment as legislative aides to Senators and members of the House of Representatives, just as members of the National Youth Corps, NYSC were seen rushing to make photostat their posting letters.
Following the results of the March 28 National Assembly election, with the APC winning 60 Senatorial seats and now left with 59 after the death of Senator Ahmed Zanna from Borno State, the APC would produce the Senate Majority Leader; Deputy Senate Majority Leader; Senate Chief Whip; and Deputy Chief Whip while the PDP caucus which was hitherto the Majority party and now the opposition would produce the Minority Leader; Deputy Minority Leader; Minority Whip; and Deputy Minority Whip.
In the 7th Senate, Senator David Mark from Benue was the President of the Senate; Senator Ike Ekweremadu from Enugu was the Deputy President of the Senate; Senator Victor Ndoma- Egba from Cross River State was the Senate leader; Senator Ahmed Abdul Ningi from Bauchi was Deputy Leader; Senator Bello Hayatu Gwarzo from Kano was the Chief Whip and Senator Hosea Ayoola Agboola from Oyo State was the deputy Chief Whip.
For the opposition in the 7th Senate, Senator George Akume from Benue State was the Minority leader; Senator Ahmad Rufai Sani from Zamfara State was deputy Minority leader, Senator Ganiyu Solomon from Lagos State was the Minority Wxhip and Senator Ibrahim Abu was Deputy Minority Whip.
It was gathered yesterday that as part of moves to finalise the list of senators that would lead them in the 8th Senate, get their principal officers and present them today during plenary, the two caucuses met yesterday separately for hours at different locations in Abuja.
It would be recalled that the Senate had on Tuesday, June 9 after intrigues played out at the red chambers, elected former Kwara State governor, Senator Bukola Saraki, kwara Central, North Central as President of the Senate. He became President of the 8th Senate by 57 of 108 senators, with 51 senators, including Senator Ahmed Lawan, absent. Senator Ike Ekweremadu (PDP, Enugu West ) was also elected Deputy Senate President.
It was also gathered that as part of moves to have a crisis free National Assembly and not to polarise the party, the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie – Oyegun, met for many hours behind closed doors with Saraki, Ahmed Lawan’s group and other APC Senators to have a common ground.
According to a source, at the end of the meeting, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, representing Borno South would be the Senate leader and Senator Ahmed Rufai Sani, Zamfara West would be the Deputy Senate leader, just as Senator Ahmed Lawan, Yobe North and Senator George Akume, Benue North West as Majority Whip and Deputy Majority Whip respectively.
It was also gathered that as Senators resume today, PDP caucus would push forward, the immediate last Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta and Senator representing Delta South, Senator James Manager for the position of Minority leader; the immediate past Senate Committee Chairman on Power and Senator representing the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda for Deputy Minority leader; former Governor of Plateau State and senator representing Plateau Central, Joshua Dariye as Minority Whip and former Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters and Senator representing Gombe South, Joshua Lidani for deputy Minority Whip.
According to a source, the refusal of former Senate President, David Mark, to automatically become the minority leader, being the most ranking senator, made the mantle to fall on Manager, the most ranking senator from the South South geopolitical zone as that would pave way for the zone in the present dispensation, especially at the National Assembly.
Speaking to Vanguard, senators who attended the meeting of the PDP caucus disclosed that the emergence of Ekweremadu as deputy senate president, however reduced the chances of the immediate past Chairman, senate Committee on Information and Public Affairs and Senator representing Abia South, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, just as he was initially tipped to emerge as the deputy Minority Leader, in case Ekweremadu had declined the offer of minority leader being a fourth-term senator.
The controversy over whether the party leaders should produce the four principal offices in the majority or the party’s caucus should take up the responsibility, might have been laid to rest as the issue was reportedly settled at a meeting in Abuja, on Monday.
The senators loyal to Senator Ahmad Lawan, under the aegis of Senate Unity Forum had insisted that Lawan was the Majority leader having lost out to Senator Saraki in the tussle for Senate President’s position.
The Senate President, his deputy and the principal officers would put in place, Chairmen, Deputy Chairmen and members of the 54 standing Committees of the Senate and that will help pilot the affairs of the 8th Senate.
Meanwhile, a source told Vanguard yesterday that in preparation for full resumption of the senators, the management of the National Assembly has begun the allocation of offices to Senators to enable them enter their offices today soon after the plenary.
In a related development, job seekers have since yesterday besieged the premises of the national Assembly, seeking for employment as legislative aides to Senators and members of the House of Representatives, just as members of the National Youth Corps, NYSC were seen rushing to make photostat their posting letters. The positions these job seekers are presently looking for include Senior Legislative Aide between Salary grade level 13 and 15; Legislative Aide between Salary Grade level 10 and 12; Legislative Assistant Salary Grade level 08; Personal Assistant Salary Grade level 08 and Secretary between Salary Grade level 07 and 08.
In a letter from the National Assembly Service Commission and written to the Senate President which Vanguard obtained, lawmakers have been urged to appoint legislative Aides of the above category.
In the letter signed by the Executive Chairman, National Assembly Service Commission, Engr. Ahmed Aliyu Dogondaji, the nominated aides will be interviewed at their respective zonal offices by the Commissioners representing their zones at the Commission’s premises.