The 9th senate has been inaugurated today, June 11, 2019.
The new President of the Nigerian Senate is 60-year-old Ibrahim Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North).
The new Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate is 55-year-old Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central).
In the election for the senate presidency, Lawan polled 79 votes to beat Ali Ndume who annexed 28 votes.
In the battle for the deputy senate president seat, Omo-Agege polled 68 votes to Ike Ekweremadu’s 37.
During the inauguration of the senate, we noticed quite a few things and we’ll share it all below…
1..The PDP got its politics wrong
The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) waited until the day of the election to announce its candidates for senate president and speaker.
The PDP also didn’t announce Ekweremadu as its candidate until the immediate past deputy senate president was nominated on the floor of the red chamber.
It was supposed to be an element of surprise card from the PDP, except that it backfired.
Consensus building, cold calls, horse-trading and political brinkmanship are best done days before a major vote. By leaving it late, the PDP came across as unprepared and knee-jerky.
It is little wonder that the APC backed Lawan and Omo-Agege who had cajoled senators-elect weeks before, emerged winners.
The duo even got PDP senators-elect in their corner on voting day. They had done their homework.
2..The 9th senate may just be noisier than the 8th
After the national assembly clerk, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, reeled out the voting rules at the outset, senators-elect turned the red chamber into a noisy, rowdy cauldron.
At this point, they were just 10 minutes into their political tenures here. And they were already making their voices heard in the most disorganized manner possible.
Move over, Dino Melaye, these new chaps on the block may eat you up!
3..Ndume is not a very good sportsman
After he lost the senate presidency race, Ndume (APC, Borno South) dashed out of the red chamber and probably didn’t vote for Omo-Agege in the deputy senate president election that followed.
Yes, we are aware that Ndume hugged and congratulated Lawan immediately after the vote, but he looked glum and bitter afterwards.
Ndume would now have to face the APC, his political party, to explain his act of defiance and the deal he cut with the PDP before the vote.
Not a good week for him, we can assure you.
A good sport, this Ndume? We honestly don't think so!
4..Lawan looked excited and relieved
New Senate President Ahmad Lawan was visibly excited and relieved as he pummeled the gavel into the deck for the first time in his reign.
You could also understand why. Lawan was the APC’s handpicked candidate for the position of senate president in 2015 until a more politically savvy Bukola Saraki and his henchmen pulled the rug from under his feet and showed him how it’s done.
This time out, Lawan handed his challenger a proper drubbing.
The Lawan we saw today looked like he could break into a Zanku dance any moment.
5..Okorocha left the national assembly a dejected man
Former Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, was not allowed into the red chamber for the inauguration ceremony and election.
After having a word with the clerk of the senate in the man's office, a furious Okorocha stormed out of the national assembly complex with a handful of aides in tow.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has refused to issue Okorocha his certificate of return.
According to Innocent Ibeabuchi, returning officer for the Imo West national assembly election of February 23, 2019, Okorocha was declared winner of the election under duress.
Even though a court has ordered INEC to hand Okorocha his certificate as a senator-elect, INEC insists that it would not “reward bad behavior.”
As a consequence, not only was Okoocha not accredited for access into the chamber, he was also denied the opportunity to partake in the process of choosing principal/ presiding officers.