OrderPaperToday – Senator Ovie Omo-Agege of the APC has emerged as the Deputy Senate President after thrashing his predecessor and three-time Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu in today’s election of presiding officers. Omo-Agege scored 68 votes while Ekweremadu got 37 votes.
But who is the new number two man in Nigeria’s upper chamber?
Ovie Omo-Agege represents Delta Central Senatorial District. He is from Orogun in Ughelli North local Government of Delta State and was born on 3rd August 1963. Omo-Agege graduated in 1985 from the University of Benin with a degree in Law. He was called to the Nigerian bar in 1986.
Following a court victory that launched him into the Senate in 2016, Ovie Omo-Agege quickly dumped the Labour Party for the APC the following year.
Omo-Agege came into considerable national limelight in February, 2018 when he led a group of aggrieved Senators to stage a press conference condemning the Senate’s passage of an amendment to the Electoral Act on the sequence of elections. Omo-Agege and his group described the amendment as targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.
The role of Omo-Agege in that press conference eventually earned him suspension from the Senate for 180 legislative days. He however successfully challenged and upturned his suspension in court, the first lawmaker to do so.
Nevertheless, Omo-Agege was caught up in the biggest controversy of his political career when he allegedly led a gang of thugs to invade the Senate chamber during plenary and cart away the mace of the Senate.
Omo-Agege nonetheless recorded more political success in the 2019 elections when he was returned as the Senator representing Delta Central on the platform of the APC, a party that is rather unpopular in the South-South region where Omo-Agege hails from.
Emergence as DSP
Following his re-election in February, 2019, Omo-Agege swiftly commenced his bid to become the Deputy President of the Senate. The thrust of his campaign was the need to bring the Urhobo nation in particular and the Niger-delta in general to the national stage in the scheme of governance and decision making.
Despite his best campaign efforts, Omo-Agege’s candidacy only gained significant traction on the eve of the elections when he was officially endorsed by the ruling APC. That endorsement put paid to clamours for the exalted office from the APC South East led by Senator Uzor Kalu and the North West led by Senator Kabiru Gaya.
On Tuesday, 11 June, 2019 Omo-Agege upward political trajectory became entrenched after he defeated the immediate past Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu in a landslide victory.
Leadership style and agenda
Following a legion of controversies in 2018 including suspension from the Senate and reversal of same, Omo-Agege has formed the image of a “rugged fighter”. However, he still has to deal with the baggage of allegations emanating from the mace theft debacle, a stick that was used to flog him during today’s election by his sole challenger, Ike Ekweremadu.
Not much is known of Omo-Agege’s legislative agenda as Deputy Senate President besides the inclusion of Urhobo and the Niger-Delta in national affairs. Nevertheless, it is expected that he will align with the agenda of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan on ensuring a harmonious relationship between the Executive and Legislature.
Opportunity for new narratives…
Hounded by allegations of supervising the theft of the Senate symbol of authority, the office of Deputy Senate President provides an opportunity for Omo-Agege to chart a new course that could yet change the narrative and define his legacy. The fact he is known to have the ears of President Buhari and close to the party hierarchy across the country is an added advantage to boost the quest for a new narrative for and about him.