By Henry Umoru, ABUJA
AHEAD of the primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC to pick its Presidential candidate for the 2023 Presidential election, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan has begun his campaign tour of the country, saying that he is running as a Nigerian Presidential aspirant, not a northern aspirant.
Lawan who visited Katsina state yesterday to seek the support of party members particularly the delegates for his presidential bid, said that as a Nigerian he is qualified to be President and not as a northern aspirant as being insinuated in some quarters.
Lawan said, “I am not running as a northern aspirant because the impression created is that I’m a northern aspirant or that northerners are saying they are not going to allow power to the South.
“I’m not running as a northern candidate. I’m running as a Nigerian Presidential aspirant and therefore I come with all my qualifications for that office and people should judge me on the basis of what I have to offer,” Lawan said in Katsina.
In a statement yesterday by his Media Adviser, Ola Awoniyi, the President of the Senate who spoke at a meeting with some members of the Katsina State House of Assembly who came to see him and led by the Speaker of the House, Hon.Tasiu Musa Maigari.
Lawan who is one of the longest serving Nigerian Federal lawmakers having been elected into the National Assembly since 1999 said he possessed the requisite experience and qualifications that put him at an advantage over other aspirants.
Lawan said, “We have been around for sometime. Thank God, from 2019, we have been working with the President of our Party, President Muhammadu Buhari, very closely. I know and I understand most of the national issues that we deal with.
“I’m a participant in this government and I use that as one advantage that I have. Even though I’m a parliamentarian, I have some experience in governance. Real experience. Therefore, we are going round to tell Nigerians that we are available.
“The fact that we came out last speaks volumes, because I didn’t just wake up one morning and say I want to be President. It took a lot of time for those who believe in me to talk to me to also throw my hat in the ring. And after some time, I accepted.
“And that is to say that some people are not satisfied with those they are seeing and they think that we can do better. I have a great deal of respect for those who are running. The other aspirants.
“And I believe that I have my advantages and I’m going to use my advantages by the Grace of God to not only emerge as the candidate of our party but also win the general elections.
“And I’m not running like someone from the northeast, I’m running as a Nigerian because I believe that I understand the issues of development in Nigeria today.
“And as a participant in this administration, I know that this administration succeeded in some ways and has not succeeded as much in others and therefore, those areas in which we succeeded, it’s for me to continue to build on them.
“Those areas that we have found ourselves in deficit, that we have not been able to succeed as much, it’s for us to work on them
I am a product of this administration and my party and therefore I commit myself to the ideals of my party.
“I commit myself to the ideals of this administration because it takes every effort by everyone to bring development. Mr President will be finishing his term in 2023 as we all know but his ideals are there and his ideals are to develop our country,” Lawan said.
The Senate President also told a large gathering of party leaders and delegates, with the State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari in attendance, why he should be considered to be the Presidential candidate of the party in the forthcoming primaries.
“It will be 23 years on the 4th of June this year that I have been in the National Assembly. My experiences, I believe, are adequate because I have worked with people like you(Governor Masari) and today, I’m working with our President, President Muhammadu Buhari who is leading the APC administration.
“For me, this is an experience that I cherish. This is an experience that makes me think that I have the capacity, that I have the ability, that I have the training, that I have the audacity and the courage to stay in that office in Abuja, in the Villa, to lead the affairs of this country with people like you around me.
“It is not abnormal that a Senator can be a President. In the US, even the current President(Joe Biden) was in the Senate. Former President Obama was in the Senate and therefore I believe that, coming from the Legislature, with some experience from the Executive because I have been working very closely with the President, I have the requisite experience to lead the affairs of this country,” Lawan said.
In his response, Governor Masari who described Lawan as very reliable and dependable person, said, “When he called me, I told him he should have gone to other places because whatever is possible, whatever we can do for him, we will do it,” Masari said.
The President of the Senate was accompanied by the former Governor of Abia State and the Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, Senator Bello Mandiya and former Senator Tafida Umar.