9th Assembly: APC Leaders Lobby PDP Lawmakers to Support Lawan

Senator Ahmed Lawan

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9th Assembly: APC Leaders Lobby PDP Lawmakers to Support Lawan

Leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress have started reaching out to some senators  and leaders  of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party  in a bid to stop the PDP members in the Senate from either contesting or supporting other senators to occupy leadership  positions in  the 9th  National Assembly.

Senator Ahmed Lawan

Specifically, the APC chiefs are lobbying the PDP leaders and lawmakers to support  their move to make Ahmed Lawan  the next Senate President.

APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had said the party did not need the opposition party’s  votes to clinch the presiding and principal offices of the 9th Assembly.

However, sources within the APC told one of our correspondents  on Friday that the APC leaders who had earlier called  the opposition senators’ bluff, over the leadership of the Senate changed  their  tactics when they discovered that the division among their party members in the Senate was real.

Apart from Lawan, two other APC senators, namely Danjuma Goje and Ali Ndume, have indicated their interest in becoming the President of the Senate in the 9th Assembly.

Subsequently, the senators have been moving round to gain the support of the opposition senators for their ambition.

An APC senator-elect told one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity in Abuja that the party leaders had tried to convince Goje and Ndume to drop their ambitions without success.

The source said the party leaders’  decision  to ‘anoint’ Lawan as  Senate President without wide consultations had caused a great division within  the party and among the senators-elect.

One of our correspondents learnt  that both Goje, who was a two-term governor of Gombe State, and Ndume had been working behind the scenes  to outsmart Lawan  by secretly forming alliances with the  PDP.

A source close to Goje  confided in one of our correspondents that the senator was  playing  his  cards close to  his chest.

The  APC senator-elect, said, “Goje is a very experienced and tactical politician.

“He understands the politics of the chamber better and he knows that making  noises  on the pages of the newspapers would not help any of the aspirants.

“He is not disobeying the leadership of the party by making up his mind to contest against Lawan. He is only exercising his rights as a ranking senator whose geopolitical zone has been asked to produce the Senate President.”

Asked if Goje was targeting the 41 bulk votes of the PDP in the Senate, the source said, “Anything is a possibility.”

He, however, ruled out the possibility of the Gombe  State-born lawmaker picking a PDP senator as his deputy.

Efforts made by our reporters to speak with Goje to confirm or deny his interest in the Senate presidency and his alleged pact with the PDP failed as of the time of filing this report.

He did not answer calls to his mobile line or respond to the text message sent to him.

However, Ndume, who has already constituted various committees to  realise his dream, confirmed to one of our correspondents on Thursday that he was still in the race.

The Borno State-born lawmaker  also said nobody had so far discouraged him from exercising his rights.

However, Ndume, who said he had the backing of many people within his party, said he would congratulate Lawan if he defeats him.

He said, “It is within my constitutional rights to contest the election. It is not as if I’m disrespecting the party, but people should be allowed to elect their leaders.

“I’m in the race till the end. If Lawan wins this election, I will be the first person to congratulate him.”

Newsmen learnt that some of the APC senators-elect who were loyal to Lawan  held separate meetings  with the  National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and Oshiomhole on the tension  in the upper chamber.

They were said to have told both leaders  that the best way to ensure victory for Lawan was to reach out to influential members of the PDP within the upper and lower chambers.

One of the sources said, “I can confirm to you that all of us are involved in the lobbying. We know that Goje and Ndume will contest against Lawan but we are not taking chances. We need PDP senators to win and we are already talking to them.”

Lawan told journalists during the week that he needed PDP votes and that he had started reaching out to them.

It was on the strength of this, one of our correspondents learnt, that APC leaders  began holding meetings  with  their ‘friends’ in the PDP.

A senator-elect from Ekiti State, Prince Dayo Adeyeye,  however,  told  one of our correspondents in an interview that it would be against global parliamentary norms and practices if any PDP senator  decides to contest the  Senate presidency on inauguration day.

He said, “Nigerians have given the APC the majority of the seats in the Senate and they expect the party  to control the Senate.

“Nobody should therefore try to subvert the will of the people by trying to play any game or create  a division, even among the majority party, such that the will of the people, freely expressed at the polls, could be subverted.

“I do not expect any PDP member to contest  the  leadership positions meant for the party with the majority seats during the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly.”


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