Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation joins race for Senate Presidency in 10th National Assembly, says religious sentiments matter less as Christians have been elected to lead both chambers of parliament in the past
As the race for the President of the Tenth Senate gathers momentum, the lawmaker representing Kano North Senatorial district, Jibrin Barau, has officially announced his intention to run for office.
Senator Barau, who made this known on Wednesday while addressing journalists at the National Assembly noted that he is the most ranked and experienced among those vying for the office, explaining that the Senate rules give credence to seniority and experience above sentiments.
Barau, who chairs the Senate Committee on Appropriation, further argued that the North-west deserves to produce the Senate President because we gave the President-elect the highest votes.
“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,” he said.
Speaking earlier on the sentiments around the need to zone the office to enable a Christian lawmaker to emerge, the former member of the House of Representatives stated that religious sentiment wouldn’t fly, as the position is about competence rather than the latter.
“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,” he stressed.
The declaration by the Kano lawmaker is coming in the same week; Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC, Abia North) declared his intention to run for the office, with the Chief Whip stressing that it is his turn to occupy the seat.
Barau, who joins the like of Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North West) and David Umahi (Ebonyi South), who have been speculated to be nursing interest in the race, however, insists that lawmakers need to be grounded in the running of the parliament before aspiring to lead the National Assembly.
“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. Do you now play against competence based on sentiments?” he told journalists.