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Saraki, Dogara’s election balances power equation among Nigeria’s geo-political zones

With the election of Bukola Saraki as the Senate President and Yakubu Dogara as the Speaker of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, all the nation’s six geo-political zones have benefitted from power sharing in the current dispensation.

The zones are North West, North East, North Central, South West, South East and South-South.
While Mr. Saraki hails from Kwara state in the the North Central zone, Mr. Dogara is from Bauchi State in the North East zone.

Both are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress.

The newly-elected Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, is an indigene of Enugu State in the South East zone though he is a member of the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Yusuf Lasun, is from Osun State in the South West.

The president, Mohammed Buhari is from Katsina State in the North West zone while his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, hails from Ogun State in the South West zone.

The National Chairman of the APC, John Oyegun hails from Edo State in the South-South zone.

Of the lot, Mr. Ekweremadu appears to be the luckiest. He was not in contention for the position until the last minute when he was drafted into the race by his party to challenge Senator Ali Ndume who was expected to run with Mr. Saraki.

The South East zone where the deputy senate president comes from did not produce a single senator on the platform of the APC. All the 15 senate and almost all the 38 House of Representatives seats in the five states in the zone are of the PDP. This left the zone with no hope of producing a top political office holder in the APC administration.

Going by the zoning arrangement believed to have been agreed earlier by the party’s leadership, the South East ought to have produced one of the two presiding officers of the National Assembly. But that possibility had been ruled out when the party did not win any seat during the March 28 National Assembly election.

In a nation where ethnic consideration is given the prime place in political appointments, without doubt, Mr. Ekweremadu’s election for the third time for that position will particularly give a sense of belonging to the Igbo race known for its complaint of marginalisation.

The South West on its part produced the vice president and the deputy speaker.

In the last dispensation, the zone had no representative among the top six topmost political positions.

Although the speakership of the House was zoned to the zone with Mulikat Akande from Oyo State as the PDP’s preferred choice, Aminu Tambuwal from Sokoto State in the North West and Emeka Ihedioha from Imo State in the South East zone rebelled against the party’s zoning arrangement and present themselves as candidates for the positions of speaker and deputy speaker, respectively.

With the emergence of Mr. Tambuwal as Speaker, North West produced occupants of two of the offices, the other being the vice presidential slot held by Namadi Sambo from Kaduna State.

Apart from the zonal balancing, the election of the new presiding officers of the federal parliament also achieved religious equation.

While Messrs Buhari, Saraki and Lasun are Muslims, Messrs Osinbajo, Ekweremadu and Dogara are Christians just as Mr. Oyegun.

In the previous dispensation (2011-2015), of the four presiding officers of the National Assembly, only Mr. Tambuwal belonged to the Islamic faith.

The then Senate President, Messrs. David Mark, his deputy, Ekweremadu and Ihedioha are all Christians. The president at the time, Goodluck Jonathan, is a Christian while Mr. Sambo is a Muslim.

Had Messrs Lawan and Gbajabiamila emerged as Senate President and Speaker, the two chambers would have been headed by Muslims.

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