11 lawmakers-elect have indicated interest to contest for the positions of Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives during the inauguration of the 9th Assembly.
While six senators-elect are jostling for the position of Deputy Senate President, another five reps-elect were reported to have joined the race for Deputy Speaker of the House.
The position of a Deputy Senate President is the second in command in the Red Chamber as Deputy Speaker is next to the Speaker.
In the absence of the Senate President and the Speaker, their deputies step into the shoes of presiding over the two chambers.
Those gunning for Deputy Senate President include Deputy Senate Chief Whip Francis Alimekhena (APC, Edo), Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta), Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos), Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano), Orji Uzor Kalu (APC, Abia) and Ike Ekweremadu (PDP, Enugu).
As for Deputy Speaker, those that have indicated interest in the position are Abdulrahman Kawu Sumaila (APC, Kano), Aminu Suleiman (APC, Kano), Garba Muhammad Datti (APC, Kaduna), Magaji Da’u Aliyu (APC, Jigawa) and Abubakar Lado Suleja (APC, Niger).
One of those contesting for the Deputy Senate President and four of those gunning for the Deputy Speaker’s seats are all from the North-West, where President Muhammadu Buhari hails from. They are Sen Gaya, Kawu Sumaila, Suleiman, Datti and Da’u.
Also, two aspirants for Deputy Senate President, Alimekhena and Omo-Agege, are from the South-South, while another two, Kalu and Ekweremadu, are from the Southeast.
One aspirant each for the Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker, Oluremi Tinubu and Lado, are from the South-West and North-Central, respectively.
All the contenders, with the exception of Ekweremadu, are of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The aspirants have intensified secret campaigns among their colleagues to realise their ambitions.
It was gathered that some of those that have declared for the position of speaker may later drop their ambition to contest for deputy speaker.
So far, those gunning for speaker are House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos), Ahmed Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa), Mohammed Umar Bago (APC, Niger), Babangida Ibrahim (APC, Katsina), Muktar Aliyu Betara (APC, Borno) and Nkeiruka Onyeajocha (APC, Abia).