Heavy Tension Hits APC As Party Plans Primary For Senate Presidency

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See’ TheNames Four Aspirants For Senate PresidentTension is mounting among the All Progressives Congress senators over alleged plans by the leadership of the party to conduct a primary election on Saturday (today) to produce candidates who will contest leadership positions in the8th Senate.Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the party had packaged a two-day retreat for all the APC senators-elect at a private hotel in the Apo District, Abuja, to create avenues for interactions between them and their leaders.But some of the ranking senators confided in our correspondent on Friday that the event would also be used to conduct an open electoral process where the participants are expected to vote for their preferred candidate for the post of Senate President and Deputy Senate President.A senator from the North-Central, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that the development was creating tension among his colleagues who believed that the strategy might be used to produce candidates of some certain leaders.He said, “The fears of some APC senators-elect is that the proposed primary election could be manipulated by some party leaders who are bent on getting their own choice emerge as the party’s candidates for the position of the senate president andthe deputy senate president respectively.“A situation whereby the party leaders, especially those who contributed to the electoral victory of some senators would supervise the election that would produce candidates for the senate leadership positions could not be transparent.“Senators are expected to produce their own leaders and should not be manipulated to do so by those who are notsenators. Such situation would never achieve legislative independence and this might lead to protest votes on the day of inauguration.”However, a two-term governor of Yobe State, who is currently a ranking senator, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, described the planned retreat as a welcome development because it would create room for dialogue between the senators-elect and the party leaders.He said, “The retreat will be a very good one. That will be most welcome. There is the need for us to have a retreat and in theprocess, sit down and through a process, decide who the most suitable candidate forthe job is and we vote for him.”Meanwhile, senators who are aspiring to lead the 8th Senate have changed their tactics from concentrating their campaign strategy on their colleagues instead of going after chieftains of the party, believedto have overwhelming influence on their representatives in the upper legislative chamber.The four ranking senators who are mobilising support from their colleagues in the red chamber and among the senators-elect are Bukola Saraki, Kwara Central; George Akume, Benue North; Ahmad Lawan, Yobe North; and Ali Ndume, Borno South.Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the decision of the party leadership to cancel the zoning of the office of Senate President and House of Representatives Speaker had forced the aspirants to brace up for the new challenge.Already, the aspirants had relocated to a popular hotel in Abuja where they hold regular consultations with their returning colleagues as well as senators -elect from the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party.A ranking senator, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that the aspirants had been picking the hotel bills of members of the incoming 8th Senate immediately after their one-week induction programme organised by the National Institute for Legislative Studies.The National Assembly, in collaboration with the NILS, according to the senator, were responsible for the hotel expenses of the newly elected members of the National Assembly for the one-week programme before the aspirants took over the bills.

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