CHUKWU DAVID reports that only 69 out of the 109 senators currently serving in the 8th Senate will contest the February 16 National Assembly election, to return to the upper chamber of the nation’s legislature
The various political parties across the country conducted their primary elections between September and October 2018, ahead of the general elections, which according to the timetable by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), will hold on February 16 and March 2. Following the INEC schedule, the presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on February 16, while the governorship and state Assembly elections will take place on March 2.
For the senatorial election, only 69 out of about 80 serving senators, who contested for return tickets in their respective parties were successful at the primaries and will test their popularity at the poll. Similarly, eight out of 12 others, who contested for gubernatorial tickets in their respective states made it, while 33 lost out in the primary elections and will consequently not participate at all in the forthcoming general elections. The 68 senators striving to return to the apex legislative chamber in the National Assembly elections will be contesting under different political party platforms.
They are All Progressives Congress (APC); Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); Social Democratic Party (SDP), African Democratic Congress (ADC); and Peoples Redemption Party ( PRP). The PDP has 33 serving senatorial candidates, APC 32, APGA 1, ADC 1, PRP 1 and SDP 1, who will be contesting the election in five weeks time. According to the list of senatorial candidates published by INEC, those who will be involved in the battle to return to the Red Chamber of the National Assem-bly on the platform of the PDP are the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki (Kwara Central); his Deputy, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West); Senate Minority Leader, Abiodun Olujimi (Ekiti South); Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South) and Senate Minority Whip, Philip Tanimu Aduda (FCT). Also contesting on the platform of the main opposition party are senators Duro Faseyi (Ekiti North), Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara South), Atai Aidoko (Kogi East), Ahmed Ogembe (Kogi Central), Dino Melaye (Kogi West), Suleiman Adokwe (Nasarawa South), Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi Central), Sam Egwu (Ebonyi North), Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North), Stella Oduah (Anambra North), Mao Ohuanbunwa (Abia North), Theodore Orji (Abia Central) and Eyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South).
The PDP list further have Albert Akpan (Akwa Ibom North East), Gershom Bassey (Cross River North), Rose Oko (Cross River South), James Manager (Delta South), Peter Nwaoboshi (Delta North), Matthew Urhoghide (Edo South), Clifford Ordia (Edo Central), Mohammed Hassan (Yobe South), Isa Misau (Bauchi South), Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi North), Ibrahim Abdullahi Danbaba (Sokoto Central), Ubali Shittu (Jigawa North), Danjuma La’ah (Kaduna South), Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North) and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano Central).
On the platform of the ruling APC are Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North); Deputy Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah (Kebbi South) and Deputy Whip, Francis Alimekhena (Edo North), Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central), Adeola Olamilekan (Lagos West), Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo central), Ajayi Boroffice (Ondo North), Yele Omogunwa (Ondo South) and Abdulfatah Buhari (Oyo North). Others are David Umoru (Niger East), Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North), George Akume (Benue North West), Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), Benjamin Uwajumogu (Imo Central), Andy Uba (Anambra South), Andrew Uchendu (Rivers South East), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North West), Nelson Effiong (Akwa Ibom South) and Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central).
The APC list further has Ali Ndume (Borno South), Abubakar Kyari (Borno North), Binta Garba Masi (Adamawa North), Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (Taraba Central), Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central), Lawan Yahaya Gumau (Bauchi South), Ahmed Baba Kai-ta (Katsina North), Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East), Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto South), Jibrin Barau (Kano North), Kabiru Gaya (Kano South), Abdullahi Yahaya (Kebbi North) and Mohammed Gumel (Jigawa North).
Serving senators contesting on the platforms of other parties are Victor Umeh (APGA, Anambra Central), Monsurat Sunmonu (ADC, Oyo Central), Shehu Sani (PRP, Kaduna Central) and Barnabas Gemade (SDP, Benue North East). Among the senators who will be standing for governorship seats in their respective states across party lines are John Owan Enoh (APC, Cross River), Buruji Kashamu (PDP, Ogun), Usman Nafada (PDP, Gombe), Sonni Ogbuoji (APC, Ebonyi), Hope Uzodinma (APC, Imo) and Jeremiah Useni (PDP, Plateau State). Judging from the existing trend in the Senate, it is obvious that out of the 68 senators going for re-election on February 16, at least not less than 28 of them may not actually return by the time the chamber will be inaugurated in June. This prediction is predicated on high turnover of lawmakers that has characterized the National Assembly since the nation’s return to democratic rule in 1999.