The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin, has declared his ambition to contest the position of the Senate President in the 10th National Assembly.
The senator, who is representing Kano Central Senatorial District, told journalists on Wednesday that he is the most ranking and experienced among those contesting the position with him.
He promised to officially begin his campaign in the coming weeks.
He said: “I intend to seek to be the President of the 10th Senate. In the next few days, I will start my campaign and make a formal declaration.”
The Kano senator noted that the position of the Senate president is that of experience and competence, not sentiments.
He said: “Legislature is a distinct arm of government that doesn’t work based on sentiments, it works on your ability to get the job done. It is the tradition all over the world and it is also stated there in our rule book and the rules are drafted from our constitutions.”
Jibrin has been in the National Assembly since 1999 and in the Senate since 2015.
He explained that the Senate rule gives credence to seniority and experience above sentiments.
He said: “It is stated there in our standing rules that aspirations of elections for the seat of the Senate Presidency shall be in accordance with ranking.
“Among those who are running for the seat of the Senate Presidency, I am the most ranked senator.
“So, it’s constitutional and among those who are showing their intentions to run for the Senate Presidency, I am the most experienced.
“The issue is that of competence. You need to be grounded in the residue of the legislature before you become the Senate Presidency. Do you now play against competence based on sentiments?
“Remember that David Mark was a Christian, his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, was a Christian and the Speaker, Patricia Etteh, was a Christian because they were the most experienced and ranking and that is the tradition, so do we now relegate competence for other sentiments.
“The National Assembly has the latitude to regulate its own procedures as a distinct arm of government. That’s why we have our standing rules.
“It is clear in the Senate Standing Rule that aspiration or election for the Office of the Senate President shall be in accordance with ranking and most experienced.
“Among those who are seeking to occupy that office, I have the highest ranking and most experienced.
“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.
“As we speak, I’m number one among those who are aspiring to become Senate President in terms of experience.
“There was a time we had a Christian Senate President, David Mark, and the deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, a Christian and the Speaker of House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh, a Christian.
“There were the most experienced and ranking at that time. Competence was not relegated for sentiment then.
“Bringing religous sentiment won’t fly. It’s about competence not sentiment. When we talk about experience, I’m the most experienced.
“There is need to reward performance. The North-west deserves to produce the Senate President because we gave the President-elect the highest votes.
“We want our president to go for second term. We saw what he did in Lagos and want him to replicate that across the country.
“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 and North-east to reward the people.
“As Senate President, I will be there for the country, I will work hard for the country until we take it to the level we so desired.”
The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, had on Tuesday, requested the All Progressive Congress (APC) to zone the Senate Presidency to his village, Igbere in the Abia North Senatorial District of Abia State.
Kalu said: “The question is whether I will run for the position of Senate President. Yes, I am ready to run for Senate President if the party zones it to my zone because the party is supreme.
He had said: “If they want to zone, they should zone it to my village so nobody would contest it against me. I don’t even want them to zone it to the South.”
Other ranking senators who are eying the position are Sani Musa (Niger), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi).