By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—AHEAD of 2023 presidential election, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, may have bowed to pressure from senators, the North-East geo-political zone in particular and other parts of the north to vie for the Presidency.
Consequently, he is expected to pick the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to contest the Presidency this week.
A source told Vanguard that the Senate president had earlier slated Tuesday for collection of the forms and declare officially but shifted it to this week because of the public holidays declared by the Federal Government.
Vanguard gathered that Lawan decided to join the presidential race, following pressure from his zone, the North East geo-political zone in particular, as well as senators and very strong persons from the North.
According to the source, Lawan, who hails from Yobe State, was dragged in because he is a younger person from the North that the APC should produce in case the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, gives the ticket to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who is also from the North East.
The source also said there had been series of meetings at Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse 2 and even during the Umrah when some powerful senators and politicians went for Lesser Hajj in Saudi Arabia to brainstorm on the issue of Lawan.
It was equally gathered that Lawan was drafted into the race since the North-East has never produced a president except the North-West.
According to the calculation by those behind Lawan, the North-West has produced late President Shehu Shagari from Sokoto State where a presidential aspirant, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, hails from.
The zone has produced late President Umaru Yar’Adua and the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, both from Katsina State, while Namadi Sambo from Kaduna State was a vice president.
The highest position ever held by the North-East is vice president and that was Atiku Abubakar from Adamawa State, and perhaps, the First Republic when Abubakar Tafawa Balewa from Bauchi State was the Prime Minister.
The permutation by the elders and politicians from the North-East is that as a serving President of the Senate, Lawan, was more on ground politically and could get his supporters, especially in the present Senate, from the North-Central, North-West, South-East, South-South and South-West.
The source also said Lawan had been drafted into the race to pave way for a northerner to retain the Presidency.
This is against the backdrop that if the PDP zones the position to the South, the Senate president would be the one for the North and also for the reason that the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, where the former Kano State governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, may not be very popular in the North, even though the candidate of the party as former governor of Kano State is strong and popular.
It was gathered that the northerners are rooting for Lawan in case the PDP did not go for Atiku Abubakar, but settles for either Governor Tamwubal of Sokoto State or Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State.
A senator from the North, who spoke with Vanguard, said: “We have succeeded in dragging the Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, into the presidential race to contest for the position and win.
‘’He is a young northerner, a young Nigerian who is currently serving as Senate president, he has been in the National Assembly since 1999 from the House of Representatives to the Senate.
‘’He has the experience, he has worked in very good and robust relationship with the executive and the judiciary, he understands governance.
“He will declare very soon, he would have bought his expression and interest forms on Tuesday, but shifted to a later date in the week. The forms would be purchased for him because people want him.”
Recall that majority of the presidential aspirants in the PDP are from the North, while that of APC are from the South, except Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello who is from the North Central.
Some of the southern aspirants include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi; governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi; former governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunke Amosun; former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha; Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi; Minister of Labour & Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, and Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, among others.