•Governors, elders, leaders take over campaign
By Henry Umoru
AHEAD of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly and the emergence of the Presiding officers, Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, All Progressives Congress, APC, Yobe North, is reaching out to all senators-elect irrespective of party affiliation, to ensure he gets the seat now after failing in 2015.
Answering questions from Journalists yesterday in Abuja during the orientation Programme for Senators- Elect and Members of the House of Representatives-elect of the yet to be inaugurated 9th National Assembly, Senator Lawan, a major contender for the position of number three citizen of the country said he was reaching out to Senators of the APC, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the Young Progressive Party, YPP because the Senate belongs to all and not only his party, the APC.
Ahmad Lawan said: “We are reaching to all our colleagues, regardless of their political persuasions after all we are supposed to work together. It is not just going to be a Senate for only the APC members. It is a Senate that will consist of the APC, PDP, and YPP. Therefore, we need everybody to support the genuine and laudable course of making Nigeria better. I will ensure that our administration is able to deliver laudable projects for Nigerians and the best way to achieve this is for all of us to work together.”
Meanwhile, Vanguard gathered that some of the governors, elders, leaders and stakeholders have keyed into the Ahmad Lawan project, and are said to be taking the campaign to the door steps of senators- elect.
A source told Vanguard that the stakeholders are also planning to reach out to other contenders like former Senate Leader, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, APC, Borno South, former governor of Gombe State and Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje and the former governor of Nasarawa State and Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, APC, Nasarawa West.
Asked to speak on Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki’s assertion that public negative perception of the National Assembly is the greatest problem, Senator Lawan said: “Well, you know parliamentarians all over the world are not very popular people because we are so exposed and we interact much more frequently with the public more than any arm of government, but you work hard on your integrity and on your reputation where you think you are not doing things right and the public particularly tells you that what you are doing is not right, you need to reflect and look at how you can improve and do better.
“I believe that as distinguished senators, honourable members of the House of Representatives, we should conduct ourselves with dignity and with respect and ensure that we deliver all those things that are expected of us.”
‘’Of course, we are reaching to all our colleagues regardless of their political persuasion because after all, we are supposed to work together. It is not going to be Senate that is for APC but it will be a Senate that will consist of APC, PDP, YPP and therefore we need everybody to support the very laudable course of making Nigeria better.’’
It would be recalled that the ruling APC had last week, explained its decision to settle for Senator Ahmad Lawan as the President of the 9th Senate, saying it arrived at that having consulted widely with all stakeholders of the party across the country.
National Publicity Secretary of the party Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu who stated this, said that the party does not envisage an election on the floor of the senate to make Lawan president.
The APC National Publicity Secretary had said: “All the Principal Officers are determined by simple majority and because Nigerians have given us more than what we had even in the outgoing dispensation, we have enough to elect all our officers. We do not need a single vote from the PDP and in any case, we don’t actually envisage any election on that day because we are going to present our members to occupy these positions and it is the collective position of the party and all our members are very experienced politicians, who understand what this means.
When they get to the floor, they are going to read out the names and if the PDP so desire, they can bring a candidate and follow that candidate with the number they have got. So, it will be an exercise in futility for PDP to nurse the ambition to share from what Nigerians have taken from them.
“It is not the party that will determine whether there will be an election or not. By the time we announce these names, having a clear majority on the floor, any one that wants to oppose would have to present his candidates, backing them up with numbers. So, there is only one person being put forward and then you have a consensus. So, even if there is going to be an election it would just be a mere formality. We do not envisage a situation where two APC senators would stand as candidates for a position. That would only happen if this party has not done its homework.”