SENATE PRESIDENCY PDP SETTLES FOR GOJE/ EKWEREMADU TICKET

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The horse-trading for the leadership of the 9th Senate intensified yesterday with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spearheading negotiation with some aspirants from the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the office of the President of the Senate.

The PDP is plotting a joint ticket by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Sen. Danjuma Goje and the outgoing Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu.

But some leaders of PDP are suggesting either Sen. Ali Ndume-Ekweremadu mandate or Sen. Abdullahi Adamu-Ekweremadu ticket.

But most PDP senators-elect, especially loyalists of the outgoing Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, have been uncomfortable with any joint ticket with Ndume or Adamu.

Saraki and influential PDP leaders prefer a deal with Goje, who was once a father-figure in the opposition party before he defected to APC.

The outcome of the proposed alliance will pit the joint candidate for the Senate against the Senate Leader, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, who has been adopted by President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the PDP opted for another alliance to hijack the Senate leadership in order to have a high stake in the 9th National Assembly and secure a comfortable slot for the South-East which might be left out of power sharing at the centre by the APC.

The PDP was said to be interested in a succession plan which will “sustain the current checks and balances against the Buhari administration” as symbol ised by Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara.

According to findings made by our correspondent, Ekweremadu has been holding marathon meetings with some APC senators-elect, especially those rated as “rebellious and amenable”, in order to get at least 56 simple majority out of 109 to enable the alliance to control the Senate.

It was learnt that the ongoing talks and negotiations have delayed the declaration of Goje for Senate Presidency. At a caucus meeting of the PDP, its senators and senators-elect, it was resolved that “all the senators-elect should stay together to study the situation until the time for the election of principal officers.”