*N/Central APC Chairmen root for Saraki
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru and Demola Akinyemi
The contest for the Eighth Senate Presidency may have become a two-horse race between the North East and the North central geo-political zones.
While two caucuses in the Senate (North West and South West) have now endorsed Senator Ahmad Lawan as their candidate, Chairmen of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the six states of the north-central zone, have unanimously endorsed the candidature of Senator Bukola Saraki as the next Senate president.
Twelve APC members of the South West Senate caucus reportedly endorsed Lawan at a meeting held in Abuja last week.
In addition, Senator Lawan secured a crucial home support when a former governor of his home state of Yobe, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, who also heads the Yobe National Assembly Caucus, endorsed his candidacy for the position.
Ibrahim, who heads the Senate Housing Committee, said the endorsement was made on behalf of the people and government of Yobe State. “Lawan possesses the required qualities, character and the frame of mind to make a qualitative Senate President. He is energetic, hardworking and possesses progressive values.
“Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan has demonstrated clear commitment to progressive values. He is energetic and hardworking and he has what it takes to lead the 8th Assembly.”
Senator Ibrahim added that Lawam’s cognate experience, having been in the National Assembly since 1999, “places him above his peers”.
Yobe State Governor has also, openly endorsed Lawan and has reportedly reached out to his colleagues on the matter.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Press Affairs and Information, Abdullahi Bego, the governor urged “all senators-elect to consider Senator Lawan’s experience, his goodwill, capacity and reach and, therefore, support him to be the next President of the Senate.”
Governor Gaidam also took strong exception to a report published in a national newspaper last week which claimed that he supports another candidate and that he was against Lawan’s aspiration.
Two weeks ago, the North west Senate caucus, at a meeting held in Kaduna Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, 20, out of 21 members endorsed Lawan for the post.
This endorsement was contained in a statement issued at the end of their meeting in Ilorin yesterday.
The APC state chairmen said Saraki was their preferred candidate for the office of the Senate president.
The statement was signed by the Kwara State APC chairman who doubles as the forum’s chairman, Hon. Ishola Balogun- Fulani, and his Kogi State counterpart, Haddi Ameto who is the secretary of the forum.
The statement reads: “We, the All Progressives Congress (APC) chairmen from the North Central Geo- political Zone met at the weekend and unanimously endorsed Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki as our preferred candidate as the Senate President for the 8th National Assembly.
“Our decision to endorse Senator Saraki, representing Kwara Central Senatorial District, at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly was borne out of his unprecedented commitment to the growth and success of the party at all levels in the Zone and across the country.
“Saraki commitment, sacrifice , sincerity and purposeful leadership ensured the success of all the Senators, House of Representatives members, House of Assembly members a s well as gubernatorial candidates in the states within the Zone.
“As a party determined to give the best to our people in terms of service delivery as well as dividends of democracy. we enjoin all our governors-elect, senators-elect, House of Representatives members-elect, house of assembly members-elect, and indeed all our leaders from the North Central Zone to support the aspiration of this illustrious son of this great zone to emerge as the next Senate president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 8th Legislative Assembly.