There were indications on Tuesday that the inauguration of the 9th Senate would not be as smooth as expected as crisis was already brewing in the All Progressives Congress (APC) over who becomes the Senate President.
Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, representing Borno South Senatorial district in the National Assembly, has vowed to fight on despite the party’s endorsement of Ahmed Lawan, the senator representing Yobe North for the position of Senate President.
Reports has it that the endorsement of Lawan also appears not to have gone down well with some senators of the ruling party.
ABACITYBLOG reported that Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the Party, was announced the endorsement of Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila as candidates of the APC for the positions of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively.
However, Ndume, who faulted the development, added that APC senators-elect were not consulted.
Addressing newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja, Ndume noted that the endorsement ran contrary to the provisions of section 50(1A) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
The section read: “There shall be a President and Deputy President of the Senate who shall be elected by the members of that house from among themselves.”
He said: “What took place at the presidential dinner in Aso Rock on Monday night where Oshiomhole, as party chairman, announced Senator Ahmed Lawan and Hon Femi Gbajabiamila as President of the 9th Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively, was very shocking to me and many of my colleagues.
“Oshiomhole, in making the announcement or endorsement, did not even allow myself or Senators Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central) and Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), widely known to be in the race for the position to say anything.
“More disturbing was the fact that even Senator Ahmed Lawan endorsed for the position, was not allowed to make any comment in form of acceptance speech or soliciting for support from other interested senators.
“The party, which was expected to have learnt her lessons from the 2015 experience, is being made to thread the similar path of boomerang by Adams Oshiomhole.
“Under PDP, it happened with the imposition of Evans Enwerem and Adolphus Wabara as Senate President at different times and also with Etteh as Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2007 before the party eventually got it right in the 6th and 7th National Assembly, particularly in the Senate when Senator David Mark served twice as President of the Senate through support in form of votes given to him by fellow senators and not endorsement by party chairman.”
Daily Independent quoted Ndume as advised that the position be zoned by the party leadership and contenders allowed to sort it out themselves, adding that it was only the elected lawmakers that had the right to choose their presiding officers and not the party’s national chairman.
“For the sake of cohesion and stability among party members as regards aspirations for such positions, what was expected from the party leadership was to just zone the positions and allow contenders within each of the zones to sort it out either through consensus or shadow election.
He said; “The 109 elected senators and 360 House of Representatives members are the constitutional kingmakers as far as emergence of presiding officers of both chambers are concerned, and not national chairman of a ruling party or even the president.”
“I don’t even believe that President Buhari was in the know of what Oshiomhole did because he didn’t make any comment on the leadership of the 9th Assembly at the dinner but only greeted us before the organisers of the programme hurriedly called for a rendition of the National Anthem.
“We all left the place in shock and disbelief but my commitment and loyalty to the party remains.”
“It is not over until the Almighty Allah makes a final decision on who becomes President of the 9th Senate on the day of inauguration,” he concluded.
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