By Abdul Jelil Adebayo
Now that the presidential inauguration has come and gone by, attention has now been shifted to the National Assembly.
The issue on the front burner is the election of the leadership of the National Assembly.
As the days go by, the number of those aspiring for the nation’s number 3 position is drastically reducing. As at the last count, the race for the Senate president has reduced to a 3 horse trade.
Out of the coterie of those who threw their hats in the ring, many have been weeded out leaving only Godswil Akpabio, Orji Uzor Kalu and Osita Izunaso.
As 13th June, the day of inauguration of the National Assembly is a stone throw away, one of them would certainly be the one that will climb that prestigious number 3 political seat.
Now the question is how would the voting for these three go on that day.
From every indication, the votes would shock bookmakers, because the expectation of those who put their trust in money might be disappointed.
If history of the past is anything to hold unto, the shock would be those parading numbers of those supporting their candidature.
It happened before when in 2015, the outgoing Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila brandished a list of 235 Honourable members in his bid for the exalted position of the number four position.
The rest as they say has become history as Dogara dusted him. As if that wasn’t enough, and to prove the bookmakers more wrong, Gbajabiamila and his group, regrouped and sponsored him for deputy Speaker. Again, he lost to Lasun from Osun state.
This goes to show that numbers on papers certainly doesn’t count much because such hardly translate to victory on the floor of the Chambers.
Feelers on good authority submitted that the party as at today has not given it’s support to any of those eyeing the Senate Presidency seat.
Even the claimed endorsement by the President has been refuted by those close to Presidency.
Already opinion is that Akpabio for instance, not minding the claim that 75 votes are routing for him, most of the votes he might get maybe skeletal sparingly spread across some South West states and one or two from the South South.
As for Yari, he has the support from some few states in the North West and few others from the North East.
Going by this permutations therefore, the coast appeared cleared for Izunaso whose support base is believe to be across board, cutting across all the six zones.
His unique selling point is said to be his commitment to the party.
He is said to be the only Senator-elect that has no baggage attached to his person.
Baggage in terms of having cases in courts with the EFCC and anti corruption agencies.
Izunaso is also been favoured as a Christian taking into consideration that the President, a Moslem and the number 2 of the same Faith, and the number 4 would certainly be of same Faith just as the number 5, who is the Chief Justice is a Moslem.
Senate Presidency is not for sale. Neither is it for desperados. And since competence, loyalty and commitment to the four cardinal objectives of the party matters and not who can buy his way through, then Izunaso has the ayes.
His votes will come massively, virtually from the six geopolitical zones.
What the Senate doesn’t need at this time is flaunting wealth, it rathers needs first among equals, a team player and one that has been long in the chamber to know the rudiments of the office in question.
Taking into consideration the political spread of offices before now since 1999, the three major zones have the first three shots of President, Vice President and the Senate President.
Be that as it may, the South East should produce the number three man. And looking around for one that has competence, cool headed, not too full of self, a team player, approachable and has been in the corridor of NASS as a worker and a lawmaker, then one person stands out.
And the person the cap fits is Senator Osita Izunaso from Imo State. And the senators elect are aware of this.
A young unassuming politician that is cool headed and operate with decisive masterstroke as his trademark.
A renowned journalist and one time Chief Press Secretary to the Third Republic Speaker, Agunwa Anakwe and later moved a notch higher to become the Chief Press Secretary to the first Senate President of the Fourth Republic, Evans Enwerem.
A lawyer and administrator, Izunaso has his divine part that brought him back to National Assembly as he was elected a member of the House of Representatives. Destiny shone on him as he also moved higher into the Red chamber as a Senator of the Federal Republic.
After leaving NASS, destiny pushed him further to become the first National Organising Secretary of the ruling party, All Progressive Congress, APC.
None of those competing for the number three position can boast of these credentials.
Izunaso has repeatedly said that he is in the race to serve the people of Nigeria and promised that it will be all inclusive administration.
In summary Izunaso wants to be first among equal because he has all the necessary qualities of a Senate President. He is a faithful and loyal party man, an accommodating, philanthropist, humane, loved by most people he comes in contact with.
His shoulders are big enough to bear the burdens of the office. His pedigree shows that he is capable and most qualified for it.
And the votes certainly will prove this come June 13th, 2023.
*Abdul is an Abuja based journalist.