Senate presidency: Mark may return as APC senators split, budgets N10bn for campaign

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Facts have emerged that Senator David Mark may return as the Senate president unless the All Progressives Congress puts its House in order and produce a consensus candidate for the seat.

It was reliably gathered that Senator Mark met with the Peoples Democratic Party senators-elect earlier this week on how they can capitalise on the disunity in the APC camp over the Senate president seat.

The 8th Senate will have 60 APC members, while the PDP will have 48.

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But if the APC fails to present a consensus candidate, the ground will be opened for Mark.

It was learnt that Mark has earmarked N10 billion to ensure that he returns as Senate president, hoping to capitalise on the zoning rancour in the APC.

Already, Senator Bukola Saraki has declared his interest to contest for the Senate president’s seat.

Other people in the race who have not declared their interests openly are Senator Ahmad Lawan and Senator Gorge Akume, who is the Minority Leader in the Senate.

The tide seems to be favouring Senator Lawan because of his experience as legislator and his endorsement by the South West and North West Caucuses of senators-elect until Friday morning when senators from his geopolitical zone (North East) disowned him as consensus candidate of the zone.

However, sources close to the Northern camp revealed that a former presidential aspirant in the zone is not comfortable with the endorsement of Senator Lawan as consensus candidate, preferring Senator Saraki.

The thinking is that the emergence of Lawan as Senate president will automatically make the him (Lawan) the leader of the party in the zone.

The presidential aspirant is said not to be comfortable with this. Our source further revealed that among the senators-elect from North East region, who is also a former governor, may be working for Saraki underground for the Senate presidency seat as the former governor is not also ready to accept Lawan’s leadership in the region. But the factor that might work against them is the allegation that some people are bringing up again that Saraki illicitly obtained a N21 billion loan from the now defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc through Joy Petroleum, a company said to be owned by his former aide.

The President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, has made it known that any candidate with corruption case will not receive his blessing for the Senate president seat. Agency report