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Lawan, Ndume declare for Senate presidency

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Senate Leader, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan and his predecessor, Mohammed Ali Ndume, have formally declared interest in the position of the President of the Senate in the Ninth Session of the National Assembly.

Lawan, who has been in the National Assembly since 1999, said he wants to lead Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber, having acquired enough experience and having the knowhow.

According to him, it is time for senate to remain focused on its duties, instead of the unnecessary infighting that would impede its responsibilities.

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He reiterated senate’s independence, amid executive-legislative cordialit.

Lawan said his “vision for the senate is a place where political affiliations would not becloud senators’ sense of nationalism and responsibility” and added that his support base in the senate cuts across party line, as the senate is for the whole country.

The Senate Leader also said his aspiration is not just to be senate president but also, to occupy the office and work with his colleague and ensure making laws is for the good governance of the country.

On his part, Ndume, in a March 25 letter of intent addressed to the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, said the decision to seek election into the exalted office was borne out of his desire to help accelerate socio-economic development of the country.

Said Ndume in the letter: “Following the successful conduct of the 2019 general election and the overwhelming victory of our great party, the APC, at all levels, I, hereby, forward my letter of intent to contest for the office of the president of the senate in the Ninth National Assembly. I wish to emphasise that my decision to contest for the senate presidency is informed by my conviction to contribute my quota to nation-building.”

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Senator Ndume, who served as minority leader in the Sixth House of Representatives, and majority leader in the early months of the Eighth Senate, assured of his capacity to deliver on party policies and programmes.

Ndume expressed optimism “that the party leadership would see the desired wisdom in zoning the senate presidency to the North East, due to our sterling performance in the 2019 polls, giving the president the second highest votes cast.”

He said the position would enable him to also fulfill the aspirations of the insurgency-ravaged people of the North East; whose respite came with the coming of the APC government in 2015.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, governors on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as senators-elect of the party have agreed on a consensus candidate for the position of Senate President.

This is in order to avoid a repeat of what transpired in 2015 in which the opposition party determined who emerged the senate president.

APC National Chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomhole disclosed this at the end of the meeting with the party’s National Working Committee members, returning/newly elected Senators at the Presidential Villa, on Monday, presided over by President Buhari.

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Speaking to newsmen, Oshiomhole said: “We had the first meeting with the president who is also the leader of the party and also with serving senators, newly elected senators and ranking senators. The whole purpose of this is to bond the new and old members, to establish a new of relationship between the executive and the legislature.

The system talks about the separation of powers between the executive and legislature and the two must handshake for things to happen. And when you have a president that is determined to drive changes, fundamental changes that will affect our habits, our life style, review the economy, deal with the security situation, fight corruption as fiercely as he is trying to do, he will need a very supportive legislative arm of government. And happily, the Nigerian people have given us the number in the legislative arm of government, all we have agreed today is that we will use these numbers as a functioning whole to determine the leadership of the senate in a way that we are not going to go to the floor of the senate and allow the opposition dictate who becomes the senate president. Because, we have comfortable majority to drive that, what we have to do is to manage that majority.

“We have discussed those specifics and because these are businesses that have to do with elections, as a caucus this is more or less a meeting of the incoming caucus to discuss leadership question and to build consensus around individual so that people don’t have to go trading, generating heat in a way that can weaken internal solidarity in the party.

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“Of course, we are aware that the opposition is expecting that the APC senators are going to fight themselves, the House of Reps are going to fight themselves and then they will take advantage and pick who they will support. They will be disappointed because our senators are seasoned senators, we have a cream of ranking senators that are in their own right capable of providing leadership of the senate. So, what we have to do is to weave all these together and arrive at a consensus of who leads and everybody follows. So that we will have this time, a more cohesive National Assembly and I think it went extremely well.”

Also commenting, Zamfara Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, said: “We took a step back to 2015 and reviewed what happened in the Senate and House of Representatives. Now, we want to go as one APC family notwithstanding our brothers from the other party. We are now talking about Nigeria first. The President requested that we all work for the betterment of Nigeria. As regards the leadership, the president requested that we work hand in hand to ensure that we come out as one family, so that what belongs to majority goes to majority and what belongs to minority goes to minority.

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