By Eseoghene Emuke
The Senator Representing Delta Central at the National Assembly, Barr. Ovie Omo-Agege said there was no time he said President Muhammadu Buhari would handpick the next Senate President and other principal officers for the Ninth National Assembly.
Omo-Agege, who also gave an insight into how the next leadership of the National Assembly would be selected, said he had not told anyone whether he would run for the Senate Presidency.
The lawmaker who spoke with WARRI TODAY said he is as qualified as any other ranking senator to be president of the Senate.
According to him, “I have not told anybody that I am interested in running for the Senate presidency. But, having said that, I am just as qualified as any other ranking senator of the Ninth Senate.
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“So, when the time comes, depending on the decision made by the caucus of the party – Mr President and other relevant stakeholders – and depending on where it is zoned to. After the zoning, we consult ourselves and complied with the rules.”
The supposed comment that Mr. President would singlehandedly pick the leadership of the Ninth National Assembly particularly in the Senate been generating controversies in political space in last two weeks.
The senator however, explained that he posited that President Buhari, as leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), will consult with the party’s caucus on who should emerge Senate President.
He added that this is necessary to avert a repeat of events of the last assembly, where the agenda of the APC was truncated due to the Dr. Bukola Saraki factor.
“I never said Mr President (Buhari) will handpick the next Senate President. Those words weren’t mine. I don’t know where it came from. My position is that Mr President is the leader of the APC. He’s our candidate and when we went into the election, we ran on the APC agenda and he was the head of that campaign to push forward that agenda.
“That agenda is contrast to Atiku’s (Abubakar) agenda. It was taken to the Nigerian electorate and they made a choice and they (Nigerians) chose our agenda. It’s not only Mr. President that believes in that agenda. All of us that were elected on the party’s platform to the senate are also part of that agenda.
“The point I am making is that we expect a loyal and constructive opposition in the senate but that opposition should not come from 65 of us (APC senators). It should come from PDP. That is their job. It’s not our job to assist them or join them in becoming opposition to the APC-led government agenda.
“For that reason, we are saying, it is the party’s caucus that will meet in consultation with Mr President and decide and recommend for the leadership position. And Mr President is the head of that caucus. We’ll no longer allow relegates to govern the National Assembly. When they did the last time, you saw what happened.
“For almost three of the four years of Buhari’s first four years, the Dr Bukola Saraki relegates regime made sure all agenda of the government were shut down. We’re hell-bent in making sure there is no repeat, and the only way to do that is to make sure no one remotely connected to the Saraki relegate agenda is allowed into the leadership of the Senate.”
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