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10th NASS inauguration: Battle begins for senate presidency, house speaker

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The 10th National Assembly will be inaugurated on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, two days after the lifespan of the current 9th National Assembly would have expired on Sunday, June 11.

Note that the current National Assembly was inaugurated on June 11, 2019. Its lifespan will terminate on June 11, 2023, which is Sunday, a non-working day while the next day June 12 is a public holiday being Democracy Day.

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had on Saturday during a meeting with the Commission’s Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) ahead of the March 11 Governorship/State Assembly elections, noted that in terms of party representation, the next 10th National Assembly is the most diverse since 1999.

So far, he said in the Senate, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) won 57 seats while the major opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) garnered 29 seats.

Others include All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) – 1; Labour Party (LP) – 6; New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) – 2; Social Democratic Party (SDP) – 2, and Young Progressive Party (YPP) – 1.

In the House of Representatives, APC won 162 seats; PDP – 102; APGA – 4; LP – 34; NNPP – 18; SDP 2; YPP – 1, and African Democratic Congress (ADC) – 2.

Given the above configuration, the elections of the Presiding Officers both chambers of the 10th National Assembly promise will be interesting.

Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly on June 13, 2023, some lawmakers-elect have begun lobbying for the presidency of the Senate and Speakership of the House of Representatives.

Apart from the Senate presidency and House Speakership, other positions that will be filled include that of the Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Reports shows that lobbying for the presiding offices had begun in earnest with the ruling party and Senators-elect and Members-elect on the platform of APC working to prevent a repeat of the 2015 experience where Senator Bukola Saraki was elected as the Senate President and Hon. Yakubu Dogara elected as Speaker of the House against the choices or directive of the ruling party.

Though the ruling APC, which will surely enjoy the majority status in both chambers of the 10th National Assembly was yet to come out with any zoning or power sharing formula for the next government under the Presidency of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, some of its lawmakers-elect were already involved in behind-the-scene consultations in order to clinch the top positions of the National Assembly on June 13.

Those who have shown interest in being President of the 10th Senate include Senator-elect Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North), Senator-elect Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North-West), Senator-elect Ali Ndume (Borno South), and Senator-elect Jibrin Barau (Kano North).

While Kalu, Ndume and Barau are current members of the 9th Senate, Akpabio was a member of the 8th Senate, who is staging a comeback to the Red Chamber.

Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, the current Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, a protege of the President-elect Bola Tinubu, might also want to try his luck to retain his position in the next Assembly. He will ride on the influence of President Tinubu to do that when the time comes.

Before that happens, Gbajabiamila will have formidable opponents to contend with in Hon. Ado Doguwa from Kano State and Hon. Aliyu Betara from Borno State, both current members of the House and veteran lawmakers.

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