UPDATE: Changing face of the 10th Senate 6 months after

Sharon EboesomiJanuary 4, 202415 min

The 9th Senate is all now history and all eyes are now focused on the composition of the 10th Senate and its prospects as Nigerians are beginning to gain interest in the legislature.

Composition of the 10th Senate

It’s been almost 7 months since the inauguration of the 10th Senate where Senators elected their leaders of which they elected Godswill Obot Akpabio as Senate President and Barau Jibrin as Deputy Senate President.

On July 4th, 2023, Akpabio went further to officially introduce 8 senators as the principal officers of the Senate. They are: Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central) – Senate Leader, Dave Umahi (APC, Ebonyi South) – Deputy Senate Leader, Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South) – Chief Whip, Oyelola Ashiru (APC, Kwara South) – Deputy Chief Whip, Simon Mwadkwon (PDP, Plateau North) – Minority Leader, Oyewunmi Olalere (PDP, Osun West) – Deputy Minority Leader, Darlington Nwokocha (LP, Abia Central) – Minority Whip, and Rufai Hanga (NNPP, Kano Central) – Deputy Minority Whip.

It is now important to identify the composition of the 10th Senate during and after the inauguration considering that some lawmakers have fallen off their positions, got appointed into ministerial offices or defected from one party to another. 

As of the time of the inauguration of the 10th Senate on June 13, 2023, out of the 109 Senators from 7 political parties, 106 were male, while 3 were female.

At the end of 2023, the membership configuration slightly changed in favour of the APC and PDP from outcomes of judgements given by election petitions tribunals or the Court of Appeal who either ordered a rerun or declared their rivals in the last election as the winner.

Below is an outline of party composition of the 10th Senate at and after inauguration: 

At inauguration – 

Majority caucus:
(i) The All Progressives Congress (APC) –59 seats

Minority caucus:
(i) Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – 36 seats
(ii) Labour Party (LP) – 8 seats
(iii) New Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NNPP) – 2 seats
(iv) Social Democratic Party (SDP) – 2 seats
(v) All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) – 1 seat
(v) Young Progressives Congress (YPP) – 1 seat

6 months later – 

Majority caucus:

(i)The All Progressives Congress (APC) – 60 seats

Minority caucus:

i) Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)- 37 seats

(ii) Labour Party (LP) – 7 seats

(iii) New Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NNPP) – 2 seats

(iv) Social Democratic Party (SDP) – 2 seats

(v) All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) – 1 seat

(v) Young Progressives Congress (YPP) – NIL

It’s evident that there have been some minor shifts in the number of senators from each party, but it’s also crucial to remember that, at present, 105 of the 109 senators are men and 4 are women.

READ ALSO: 10TH NASS: Composition of the Nigerian Senate | Parties, Ex-Governors and Deputies

10th senate compisition
Composition of the 10th Senate as at October 2023

An overview of all the senators who were either removed by the courts, appointed into executive positions, or defected from their political parties is provided below:

Elisha Abbo - Composition of the 10th Senate

  • Elisha Abbo (APC, Adamawa North)

The Court of Appeal in Abuja sacked the lawmaker representing Adamawa north senatorial district, Senator Elisha Ishaku Abbo and replaced him with Amos Yohanna (PDP, Adamawa North).

The National Assembly tribunal’s ruling, which recognised Abbo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the legitimate victor of the Senate seat, was overturned by the court on grounds that Amos Yohanna of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), won the election.

Following this development, Abbo controversially claimed that the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, was the reason behind his removal from office. According to him, this is because he supported Senator Abdulaziz Yari’s (APC, Zamfara West) bid to become Senate President rather than Akpabio. He further alleged that the courts intended to remove additional four senators from the red chamber, including Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC, Abia North), who opposed Akpabio’s ascension to the senate presidency.

He said: “I heard it from a reliable source which I won’t call the name now that five senators will be removed from the Senate. Those who did not stand with my brother, my elder brother, and my good colleague, distinguished Senate President Akpabio. Those who did not vote for him, five of us are going and I am number one. Orji Uzor Kalu will go. They have pencilled five of us.

They told me that I was going because we did not support my brother Akpabio in emerging as president of the senate. This is not democracy. We have hope in the court, let us build the country, the international community is watching us. You cannot withdraw a ground and the court of appeal restore a ground without the lawyer asking for that ground to be restored and voiding somebody’s election. This is a coup on democracy. The court judgement is strange and the judiciary needs to please remain the last hope of the common man.”

The day after on a national TV station, Abbo recanted and tendered an apology to Akpabio, saying “my apology is because I am convinced that he is not involved. I have to say with all sense of humility and responsibility that the press release we issued yesterday was premature and based on the available information at our disposal.

“As of today, we have discovered a lot of things, and yesterday night, I had a discussion with the Senate President, and I am convinced that he is not involved. For many Nigerians that have followed me over the years, they don’t know me as a person who says something because he wants to benefit from something. No, I don’t do that. For a number three citizen to come up to tell me that he has sworn on his mother’s grave, a woman that he loves so much, a woman who brought him up after he lost his father at the age of six, I don’t see a reason why he would lie.” 

Simon Mwadkwon - Composition of the 10th Senate

  • Simon Mwadkwon (PDP, Plateau North)

Simon Mwadkwon was serving his first term as a Senator representing Plateau north senatorial district on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 10th Senate when he was kicked out by the court. Until his expulsion, he was the Minority Leader of the Senate.

Mwadkwon was a member of the House of Representatives between 2011 and 2019, where he represented Barkin Ladi/ Riyom Federal Constituency.

A three-member panel led by Justice Daudu Williams ruled that Mwadkwon was not validly nominated by the PDP for the election because twelve Local Government Areas (LGAs) did not attend the congress that selected him as the party’s candidate. The panel subsequently ordered a rerun in the Plateau North senatorial zone within 90 days.

Meanwhile, the Senate in November announced a two-term Senator, Abba Moro (PDP, Benue South) to take over from Mwadkwon as Minority Leader.

Napoleon Bali

  • Napoleon Bali (PDP, Plateau South)

Senator Bali was also serving his first term as Senator representing Plateau south senatorial district on the platform of the PDP in the 10th Senate before his removal.

The Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Jos sacked Bali and declared Simon Bako Lalong, a former Governor of the State, as the winner of the election on grounds that the results of the election did not reflect the will of the people and for refusal to carry out a lawful order of court.

The Senate however swore in Lalong of the APC on Wednesday, 20th December, 2023 during plenary to replace Senator Napoleon Bali of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Lalong left his position as minister of labour, employment and productivity to take the seat in the Senate. 


Darlington Nwokocha

  • Darlington Nwokocha (LP, Abia Central) 

Nwokocha was sacked by the Appeal Court which upturned the ruling of the National Assembly election petition tribunal which had earlier upheld his victory.

The upper court declared the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Austin Akobundu, as the duly elected senator in the February 25, 2023 polls, and was subsequently sworn into office. 

Senator Osita Ngwu (PDP, Enugu West) was also sworn in by the Senate to replace Nwokocha as the Senate Minority Whip.

Ohere and Natasha - Composition of the 10th Senate

  • Abubakar Ohere (APC, Kogi Central)

The tribunal, led by Justice K. A. Orjiako, sacked Abubakar Ohere, declaring that his votes were inflated in nine polling units of the Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi State while that of Natasha Akpoti Uduaghan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was intentionally reduced.

Following this development, the apex court ruled that Natasha should be proclaimed the victor of the Kogi central senatorial district election since she received the majority of valid votes cast.

Ohere, dissatisfied with the tribunal’s decision, had appealed to the Court of Appeal, hoping to have it overturned; however, the appellate court dismissed his appeal, siding with the tribunal.

Ifeanyi Ubah - Composition of the 10th Senate

  • Ifeanyi Ubah (APC, Anambra South)

The lone YPP Senator, Ifeanyi Ubah, on the 12th of October, defected to APC, increasing the numbers of the ruling party to 60.

According to a letter read by the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, during plenary, Senator Ubah cited ireconcilable differences with the YPP as the reason for his defection to the ruling party, adding that the party’s commitment to good governance resonates with his.

“As a dedicated politician and a representative of my people, I believe that this move has become exogenous and it is a call from my constituents to align myself, my political party, and my people with the best values and practices,” he wrote.

David Umahi - Composition of the 10th Senate

  • David Umahi

Sixty-year-old Senator David Umahi was one of the nominees sent by President Bola Tinubu for screening and confirmation by the National Assembly. This meant he had to relinquish his post as Deputy Leader in the 10th Senate and was consequently replaced by Senator Oyelola Yisa Ashiru (APC, Kwara South), who was hitherto Deputy Whip. Senator Nwebonyi Peter Onyeka (APC, Ebonyi North) was consequently also appointed as the new Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate.

Senator Umahi was appointed Minister of Works after Senate approval.

Ibrahim Geidam - Composition of the 10th Senate

  • Geidam Ibrahim

Geidam Ibrahim was also one of the nominees sent by President Bola Tinubu. He was serving his second tenure as senator having previously served out two consecutive terms as governor of Yobe State. He is currently Minister of Police Affairs. 

Resigned but no vacancy 

Meanwhile, it was 3 months after the appointment of Umahi and Geidam (126 days and 140 days, respectively) that the Senate declared their seats vacant. In the announcement made by Akpabio, he said:“This declaration is in accordance with section 68 subsection 1d, following the assumption of office as Ministers of the government of the Federation of Senator Dave Umahi and Senator Geidam Ibrahim. INEC therefore wishes to commence the process of bye elections immediately.”

WATCH: How senate lost two of its members to the Executive

Sharon Eboesomi

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