As the National Assembly resumes today, the suspense surrounding the emergence of principal officers has intensified. Political parties in both chambers have yet to reach a consensus on the list of potential principal officers.
The office of the Senate leader is being contested by Senator Ali Ndume (Borno South) and Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central), while lawmakers from minority parties are working against the emergence of Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto South), the former speaker of the House of Representatives, as the Senate minority leader.
According to a lawmaker interviewed by LEADERSHIP, the political parties have not submitted the list of their nominees to the Senate. The opposition parties are yet to decide on their choice for the minority leader, and the APC is awaiting consultation with the Presidency before finalizing their selection.
While the absence of principal officers may create a temporary vacuum, it is not expected to significantly affect the plenary proceedings.
The 10th National Assembly had previously adjourned for a post-inauguration recess and Eid El Kabir break, with the scheduled resumption today. However, the principal officers, who play a crucial role in running the parliament, have not been chosen yet.
Principal officers in both chambers include the majority leader, deputy majority leader, chief whip, deputy whip, minority leader, deputy minority leader, minority whip, and deputy minority whip. Their presence is vital for the effective functioning of the plenary proceedings.
So far, only the minority leader position has been filled, with Rt.Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) as the minority leader and Hon. George Ibezimako Ozodinobi (LP, Anambra) as the deputy minority leader. However, it remains unclear who will emerge as the majority leader, as the APC has not yet announced its choice.
Apart from the appointment of principal officers, other priorities for the lawmakers upon resumption include the constitution of standing committees, the unveiling of the legislative agenda, and the confirmation of recently appointed Service Chiefs.
The headship and membership of standing committees are crucial for the commencement of legislative business, as they facilitate lawmaking and oversight functions. Additionally, the legislative agenda provides a framework for legislative interventions, while the confirmation of the Service Chiefs appointed by President Buhari is also expected.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its caucus in the Senate have held a meeting to decide on the minority leader position. However, the meeting ended without reaching a consensus, and further consultations will take place before submitting nominations to the Senate President.
Contenders for the minority leader position include Senator Aminu Tambuwal, Senator Adamu Aliero, and Senator Abdul Ningi. The race for this position has become intense, with allegations of a plot by the APC and external forces to influence the minority leadership.
In conclusion, the selection of principal officers and the subsequent functioning of the National Assembly will be determined in the coming days as political parties finalize their nominations and consultations.