- Former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume has opposed the adoption of Senator Ahmad Lawan as Senate president by the APC
- The Borno state senator had made known his intention to contest for the seat on Monday, March 25
- Ndume said the endorsement was not only embarrassing but unconstitutional
A report by ThisDay indicates that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may face a major crisis in the election of the leadership of the 9th National Assembly.
This is as one of the aspirants for the office of the Senate President, Senator Ali Ndume, on Tuesday, March 26, faulted the adoption of the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, by the party leadership.
Ndume (APC, Borno South) told newsmen in Abuja that the disclosure by the APC national chairman, on Monday, March 25 endorsing Lawan as president of the 9th Senate and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives was not only embarrassing but unconstitutional.
His words: “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 ninth Senate and the 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 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.”
According to him, such endorsement is at variance with provisions of Section 50 (1a) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The provision of the constitution states: “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 emphasised that by provisions of the Constitution, neither Oshiomhole nor Buhari or any party leader, has the right to force on elected senators or members of the House of Representatives, their presiding officers.
Ndume added that the party that was expected to have learnt her lessons from the June 2015 experience is threading the similar path.
According to him, since 1999, there was no time leadership was imposed on any of the chambers of the National Assembly without repercussion.
He said: “If you look at the history of the National Assembly, such action, normally do not go down well with members. In 1999, Evans Enwerem was imposed, he did not last. After that Wabara was also imposed and he did not also last. The PDP that was then accused of impunity did not do what the APC did yesterday.
“In 2003, PDP showed wisdom by opening up the contest by just zoning the position to the North-central and that led to the contest between David Mark and George Akume. Because that process was democratic, David Mark lasted two terms peacefully. I don’t think what happened yesterday has improved on the process but rather, worsened it.
“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.
“The 109 elected senators and 360 House of Representatives members are the constitutional kingmakers as far as the emergence of presiding officers of both chambers are concerned and not national chairman of a ruling party or even the president.”
Ndume, a former Senate leader, however, said his loyalty to the party and in particular, Buhari, has not been affected by the unpopular decision of Oshiomhole.
He said: “I don’t even believe that President Buhari was in the know of what Oshiomhole did because he didn’t make any comment on leadership of the 9th Assembly at the dinner but only greeted us before the organizers of the programme hurriedly called for rendition of the National Anthem.
“We all left the place in shock and disbelief but my commitment and loyalty to the party remains.”
He further explained that he would consult with party elders from his home state, Borno, and his colleagues, who encouraged him to join the race on the next line of action, saying: “It is not over until the Almighty Allah makes final decision on who becomes President of the 9th Senate on the day of inauguration.’’
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Ndume had on Monday, March 25, formally wrote the national leadership of the APC about his intention to vie for the office of Senate president when the 9th Senate is inaugurated in June.
In a two-page letter dated Monday, March 25 addressed to APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Ndume announced his intention to run for the office and sought the blessing of the party to contest for the position.
He said he is throwing his hat into the ring believing that the Senate president position would be zoned to the north-east geo-political zone where he hails from.
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