By Henry Umoru
ABUJA-AHEAD of the inauguration of the 9th Senate, there are strong permutations by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to snatch the majority status from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The PDP Senators as alleged are planning to replay the 2015 scenario by poaching 13 APC returning and new senators to forestall the emergence of Senator Ahmad Lawan as the President of the 9th Senate.
It was gathered that the information leaked when two senators approached to be arrow heads of the plans felt uncomfortable and alerted both the party hierarchy and the campaign team of Senator Ahmad Lawan.
According to a source, the two senators, a returning member and a fresher, are to lead PDP to their unnamed colleagues from Adamawa, Taraba, Ekiti, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano and Kebbi for their buy-in and subsequent implementation of the plan.
Part of the plans as gathered is that PDP has designed a blueprint for their members to back a returning APC Senator from Gombe for the Senate Presidency with the support of the 13 APC Senators already pencilled down, with alleged mouth-watering monetary rewards that would see them through the resultant party blacklist while in office as well as their lives in retirement would be offered.
It was further gathered that the two Senators said that although they were doubtful of the success of the PDP plans this time because most APC senators have made up their minds to support Senator Lawan for the position of Senate President and Senator Francis Alimikhena, APC, Edo North for the position of Deputy Senate President.
It is said that based on this development, the opposition camp is divided as a sizeable number was ready to support their candidate.
On why he refused the offer and his readiness to support Senator Ahmad Lawan, the ranking Senator said: “At the moment, Lawan is the candidate to beat using well known international parliamentary best practices and parameters. All odds are in his favour in terms of experience in the administration of the legislature in this country. He has been in the National Assembly in the last 20 years. His achievements at the Committee level are unassailable. Remember the engine room of legislation is the Committee stage. Don’t forget he has a Ph.D.”
According to the Senator- elect, the candidacy of Senator Lawan should not be opposed because “in all parliaments, be it in the Presidential System or Parliamentary System the world over, leadership or presiding officers emerge based on their experiences as leaders of the caucuses. Thus, when a party gains a majority after a general election into Parliament, the leader of the caucus of such a party in the legislature transforms to be the President or Speaker of such parliament in a seamless process. It is an established practice and all stakeholders should make sure we act in conformity with the international standard in this respect.”
The Senator- elect, who has, however, called on other senators to engage topmost leaders of their parties on the need to allow international best parliamentary practices and the Rule of Senate guide the process of emergence of the Principal Officers, said: “They also discussed with us the revival of the “Like Minds Group” of 2015 and their various social media campaign of calumny, most especially their deliberate attempt to link a national leader of APC to the emergence of Senator Ahmad.”
The source said that PDP falsely maintained at the meeting that Ahmad Lawan would turnout to be a stooge of the APC national leader and that disinformation would turn the tide against the candidature of Senator Ahmad Lawan.