The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Barau Jibrin, has joined the race for the senate presidency in the 10th National Assembly.
APC’s Barau declared interest to contest for the position while briefing reporters at the National Assembly in Abuja yesterday.
He said, “I intend to be the president of the 10th senate by the grace of God. I will, in a few days or weeks, make a formal declaration.”
The Kano North senator said he was the most experienced among those who were seeking to occupy the coveted office in the 10th assembly.
He said the North West should be considered for the position having voted massively for the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Barau dismissed the calls in some quarters for a Christian senate president to balance APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket, saying competence should not be sacrificed for religious sentiment.
He said, “Among those who are seeking to occupy that office, I have the highest ranking and most experience.
“The issue is that of competence. You need to be grounded in procedures of legislation and other activities of the parliament before becoming the senate president.
“Will you now relegate competence for other sentiments? There was a time we had a Christian Senate President, David Mark, and the Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, a Christian, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh, a Christian. They were the most experienced and ranking at that time. Competence was not relegated for sentiment then.”
He also said there was the need for the leadership of the APC to reward performance during the February 25, national elections.
The senator further said, “The North West deserves to produce the senate president because we gave the president-elect the highest votes.
“In 2015, when President Buhari was declared the winner, he tried to give attention to the area that gave him the highest votes. Key government positions were zoned to the North West, South West and North East to reward the people.”
Similarly, the Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, has indicated interest to contest the senate president’s position.
The governor disclosed this yesterday in Abakaliki while appreciating the people of the state for voting for the ruling APC in the last elections.
He said he had the required experience to occupy the office having worked as a public servant for 16 years.
Umahi urged APC leadership to zone the position to the South East for equity and fairness.
He said, “I will not go against their decisions, but as human beings, filled with the grace of God, I put myself forward subject to zoning the senate president’s position to the South East.”
By Abdullateef Salau (Abuja) & Nabob Ogbonna (Abakaliki)