Next to the exalted Presidency of Nigeria for which President Muhammadu Buhari has just earned a resounding re-election endorsement, the Senate Presidency is undoubtedly strategically next in line in our democracy, as the apex position in the all-important legislative arm of government. It is therefore understandable that a lot of attention centres around the question of who should take-over from Senator Bukola Saraki who lost his bid to return to the senate.
For the ruling APC, there is a compelling need for circumspection in deciding how this important position should be filled and who is most suitable among those jostling for recognition, against the background of acrimony and sabotage that accompanied the process that saw the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki and almost crippled the party and government. This delicate situation can only be compounded by the “mad rush” by several senators to capture the coveted seat, no doubt propelled more by the prestige and perks attached to it than the heavy burden of patriotism and statesmanship it places on the occupant.
There is however every indication that the prevailing circumstances, informed by precedence, will eventually sort the wheat from the chaff as well as take control of the process to ensure that there is no repeat of the blunders of the past. In this context it is very instructive that short-lists are being made by pundits, pre-empting the selection process by nominating preferred candidates.
Actually, the short-listing has led to a convergence of well-considered choice that must have been greatly-influenced by previous political pitfalls and certainly focused on adopting the most strategically appropriate candidate to restore political correctness and due process of party supremacy in the affairs of its delegates in the legislature. It cannot be for nothing that virtually all the well-publicized short-lists for senate presidency top their lists with Senator Ahmed Lawan.
Senator Lawan’s role as sole anchor in saving the APC from total dismemberment will be difficult to ignore in considering candidates for the next senate presidency. He exhibited impressive pedigree as one of the most experienced top-ranking senators with an impeccable record of service and high moral standing, worthy of association with the principled politics of President Buhari.
Indeed, if the ultimate goal of the party is to restore respect, public confidence, global respect, peace and harmonious relationship between the executive and the National Assembly, especially the Senate, for delivering good governance while upholding party supremacy, Ahmed Lawan should be the man. He provided excellent leadership at the most difficult times without losing the loyalty of his colleagues or the APC party executives.
The challenge of exiting the era of cloak-and-dagger politics of unbridled ambition and ego-driven manipulation of the liaison between the Senate and the Presidency and transiting smoothly into one for the enthronement of the much desired consolidated collaboration of APC senators in harmonious pursuit of the overriding success of the party and government at federal and state levels, needs the level headedness, temperament and firmness of Senator Lawan to achieve.
The leadership qualities and advantage of proven experience and capacity acquired by Ahmed Lawan to qualify eminently for Presidency of the Senate is additionally augmented by his geo-political constituency in the North East zone. As the zone that gave the APC massive votes at the Presidential elections, it is only politically correct for the party to capitalize on this by elevating Ahmed Lawan accordingly, especially considering that it has never produced a senate president.
To complete the sanitation process in the transition, it is pertinent to highlight another distinguished virtue of Senator Lawan as one who has never been invited or tried in any court of law by any security or law enforcement agencies for allegation of any wrong doing. For the senate as an institution in dire need of new public perception and exemplary leadership, Senator Ahmed Lawan will be a befitting president, immaculately comparable to President Buhari as a loyal lieutenant in the expected all-out war against corrupt politicians!
Whether short-listing or sorting the wheat from the chaff, the search for the next senate president begins and ends with Senator Ahmed Lawan, a nationally recognized and accepted bridge builder, most capable of restoring the dignity and repositioning the senate with the depth of his legislative knowledge and experience, intelligence and the advantage of age on his side, being neither too young nor too old. Indeed, for the ninth Assembly to succeed it will need Senator Lawan, the “legislative encyclopaedia” as he is aptly referred to by his colleagues and the media. He is simply the most appropriate for the job.