The race for who becomes the next president of the Nigerian Senate has taken a new turn as Senator Osita Izunaso from Imo state has emerged as a top contender.
Despite the odds currently favouring Senator Godswill Akpabio from Akwa Ibom state, Senator Izunaso is said to have warmed his way into the hearts of some power brokers in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Izunaso, 56, was a member of the Senate from 2007 to 2011 under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He joined the APC afterwards and was part of the merger talks that gave birth to the ruling party in 2014.
Those rooting for Izunaso say they trust him more than the current Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, and Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom state considered the top contenders for the position before now.
A source in the know said:
“He has been loyal and consistent as a member of this party, and some influential members of the APC are now pushing for his adoption as the consensus candidate.
“Also, unlike Akpabio and Kalu, he is not the loud type and carries out his duties as a politician with decorum and effectiveness. His support is growing daily, and I won’t be surprised if he gets the position.”
They also argued that he had been a party member since the APC formation in 2014.
Senator Izunaso also has the backing of his state governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, who is also lobbying on behalf of his kinsman to occupy the coveted position.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja recently, Senator Izunaso said he was the most qualified among those in the Senate presidency race, especially among those aspiring from the southeast.
“Among those vying for the Senate presidency, especially from the south, I am the most qualified to serve the party, loyalty and commitment. I was there at the beginning of APC; I am one of the people at the party’s foundation.
“I was in the merger committee put together by the opposition parties that formed the APC. I have laboured hard for the party as the founding National Organising Secretary. In all party assignments, I have discharged them with commitment and unwavering loyalty.
“The other people came to our party as joiners after we won the 2015 presidential election against all odds. They worked vigorously for the PDP, their party then, to win the election.
“If we didn’t fight to win the election in 2015, would APC be the ruling party today? Will they join our party today to seek to lead the National Assembly? If the office of the Senate President is about who has served and worked faithfully for the party, I am the most qualified.”