By Olugbenga Salami
Ahead of the inauguration of the National Assembly in June this year, some aspirants for the office of the Senate President among the ranking senators are said to be wooing their new colleagues with dollars for support.
The aspirants, according to information reaching our correspondents are also intensifying their lobbies among the returning senators.
At the moment, the incumbent President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan (APC Yobe North), who is from the same North East geo-political zone with the Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, is said to be interested in the race for the 10th Senate Presidency with subtle moves by his group.
Similarly, Senator Ali Ndume (APC Borno South), also from the same state with Shettima, is reportedly in the race.
Another prominent aspirant is the chairman on Senate Services Committee, Senator Sani Musa, (APC Niger East), popularly known as 313, is majorly the current favorite of most of his colleagues
Senator Musa is said to be ahead of other aspirants for the position because his state produced the highest number of votes in the North Central geo-political zone during the presidential election.
Also, Senator Barau Jibrin (APC Kano North), who is the current chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, is equally in the race and have reportedly hosted some senators-elect to a lunch at the Transcorp Hilton to seek their support.
The Senate Chief Whip and former Abia State Governor, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC Abia North) is also interested in the position as his team has since been approaching some few senators-elect after the interactive meeting on Monday in Abuja.
Others said to be in the race are Senators Godswill Akpabio from Akwa Ibom State, Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto), Abdul Ningi (Bauchi), Abdulaziz Yari and Sahabi Ya’u, both from Zamfara State.
However, it was gathered at the weekend in Abuja that the dollars rain on the senators-elect are being done by a particular aspirant, who was said to have distributed the foreign currency during their engagements with them while also making subtle appeals to the returning lawmakers.
The desperate aspirant from the North West geo-political zone was said to have allegedly distributed $10,000 to each of the new senators shortly after they collected their certificates of return last week and after the senators and representatives-elect engagement with the All Progressives Congress, APC leadership.
One of the beneficiaries of the dollars during a chat with one of his colleagues wondered why they should be welcomed to the Red Chamber with such mouth-watery gifts.
He was said to have expressed disappointment in the senator-elect who according to him, “wanted to buy the position of the Senate President”
The new senator-elect wondered why the aspirant who is already doling out dollars failed to wait for the zoning arrangements that the national leadership of the APC is planning to unveil after the Governorship and House of Assembly elections.
A ranking senator among the aspirants was also said to have promised returning lawmakers and all APC senators-elect, juicy committee membership if they supported his aspiration.
At least, 101 Senate seats have been cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC with the ruling APC having 56.
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has 27 senators; the Labour Party has five; the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, has two; Social Democratic Party, SDP has two, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA and the Young Progressives Party, YPP, have one senator.