The chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole has sparked a fresh battle with Senator Ovie Omo-Agege ((Delta Central) over the position of a presiding officer or principal officer in the soon-to-be-inaugurated 9th Senate, Per Second News gathered.
Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo state is pushing the candidature of Senator Francis Alimikhena (Edo North), while Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is said to be pushing back against such moves.
Both Alimikhena and Omo-Agege are the only ranking APC Senators from the South-South zone. But Alimikhena, who was appointed a principal officer (Deputy Chief Whip) in the 8th Senate despite being a first-time senator, is being considered by the APC chairman to be more suitable for any position-whether presiding or principal –that is ceded to the zone.
The party leadership is working on the zoning of the various presiding officers’ positions and principal officers’ positions in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The presiding officers’ positions are the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, and Speaker of the House of Representatives and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The principal officers’ positions for the party with the majority seats in the National Assembly are Senate Leader, Deputy Senate Leader, Senate Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Senate Whip as well as House Leader, Deputy House Leader, House Chief Whip and Deputy House Chief Whip.
Sources close to the development in the South-south hinted that the party leadership led by Oshiomhole seems to favour Alimikhena for any position that is ceded to the zone in the Senate. His pedigree as a principal officer in the outgoing 8th Senate places him at a clear advantage over Omo-Agege.
Besides, he is said to be a grassroots politician with capacity to mobilise members of his senatorial district to vote massively for the APC in future elections in Edo North.
But Omo-Agege is said to be working round the clock to circumvent the planned consideration of Alimikhena for any position zoned to the South-south zone in his characteristic contempt for loyalty to the party, said a party stalwart familiar with the matter.
A source said that the Delta senator is desperate to clinch any leadership position that is ceded to the South-south in defiance of the decision of the party leadership in the zone. He is reportedly banking on his relationship with some northern administration officials to supplant Alimikhena in the race for position.
Omo-Agege, as learnt, had embarked on his desperate political voyage in the Senate immediately he defected from the Labour Party (LP) to the APC as a first-time member of the 8th Senate.
Those who claim to be knowledgeable about the politics of Delta Central Senatorial zone say that Omo-Agege is not popular but deploys his peculiar use of subterfuge either through the court or electoral manipulation to achieve victory.
He won the Senate seat in the 8th National Assembly through the court. In the Senate, he defected to the APC and wormed his way into the hearts of some administration officials through the gangsterish act of leading thugs to the Senate chamber during plenary to snatch the Mace-the symbol of authority- and disrupted the proposed override of presidential veto of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Omo-Agege was also reported to have deployed the stratagem to undercut the foundation leader of the APC in the zone, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, in the race for the party’s ticket for Delta Central senatorial seat.
There were also reports that Omo-Agege resorted to the use of intimidation and violence to his advantage in the February 23 senatorial election in which he was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He is inundated by a rash of court cases bordering on both pre-election and post-election matters in the court and in the Tribunal.
But despite the uncertainties precipitated by the court cases questioning the validity of his nomination, Omo-Agege, as gathered, is working on some administration officials to pull through his tricky situation.
He is also largely perceived as incapable of being trusted by the party given his pedigree in the Senate and in the Delta State chapter of the APC.