SENATE PRESIDENCY: SUSWAM MOBILISES SUPPORT FOR MARK
T he Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, has commenced mobilisation of support for the retention of Senator David Mark as president of the Senate for a second term in office. He told journalists in Abuja that the North- central geo-political zone deserved to retain the Senate presidency, considering the overwhelming majority votes it gave President Goodluck Jonathan as well as the stability Mark brought to bear on the National Assembly in the last four years.
According to Suswam: 'The North-central and North-east may have almost the same number of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senators but it is on record that during the presidential election, the North-central delivered all their states while the North-east zone's votes for the president was very minimal. If the PDP did not win the presidency, the whole issue of debate over zoning would not be there in the first place. So, the North-central is better placed for the Senate presidency and everyone knows that the present occupant of the office has done creditably well.'
The move by Governor Suswam, who is believed to have reached out to other governors on the need for Mark to retain the Senate presidency, was being seen as a clear indication of a crack within the ranks of the Nigeria Governors Forum, which was believed not to have a common position on the matter of the Senate presidency.
The development might have put a check on the ambition of some out-going governors, who are Senators-elect, particularly Governors Danjuma Goje of Gombe State and Bukola Saraki of Kwara State, who were alleged to have started mobilisation and campaign for the office of the Senate presidency.
Governor Suswam, who was a two-term member of the House of Representatives (1999 -2007), however, said based on his experience, it was better to serve as a legislator before becoming a governor than the other way round because in the legislature, no one could direct the other like is the practice in the executive arm of government.
Suswan said there was the need for the retention of the present zoning arrangement by the national leadership of the ruling PDP to have a balancing as well as sustain the needed peace in the country.
He canvassed for the retention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the South West geo-political zone while the South East and North-east should be made to retain the positions of deputy Senate President and deputy speaker respectively. Suswam said while it was equally true that the South-east voted overwhelmingly for President Jonathan, the need to take into consideration the role of religion in a multi-plural state like Nigeria could not be ignored