By Durosinmi Meseko
It is no longer news that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has endorsed Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe State as the party’s candidate for the position of President of the Senate in the 9th National Assembly. The party hinged its decision to field Lawan on the outcome of extensive consultations with members-elect, stakeholders as well as the cognate experience of the Senator. Expectedly, Senator Lawan has since hit the ground running alongside his campaign team.
During a campaign visit to Lagos earlier in the week, he unveiled his campaign slogan, “A Senate and National Assembly that works for Nigeria.” According to him, the main agenda is to have a Senate and National Assembly that will work with the Nigerian people. “We need a National Assembly that will look at Nigeria as its constituency. We want a Senate and a National Assembly that will maintain cordiality, synergy and cooperation with other arms of government,” he stated, adding that the welfare of Nigerians must not be compromised, stressing that jobs and wealth should not be concentrated in few hands.
In his words, “you can’t sleep with two eyes closed if wealth does not go round.” Senator Lawan said the 9th Senate should assist the country by helping President Muhammadu Buhari achieve his agenda in the areas of security, economy, job creation and anti-corruption battles.
According to him, the concept of separation of powers should not translate into an unnecessary rift that will cripple the harmonious working relationship amongst the various organs of government to the detriment of the country. The relationship amongst these organs of government, he stressed, should be characterized by cooperation, collaboration, partnership and synergy.
“We may disagree. Our perspectives may differ. We don’t go to the market square to settle our differences. We should be able to meet and discuss issues and make compromise in national interest. That is the way to grow democracy. We may disagree, but the disagreement should not escalate,” he declared.
On what qualifies him for the exalted office, Lawan said his progressive stance over the years would serve as a major advantage. “I have been in National Assembly for almost 20 years. I have served in the House of Representatives for eight years and in the Senate for 12 years. I am a progressive. I was an APP and later ANPP House of Representatives member and I am now in the APC. I believe in progressive politics, in ensuring that ordinary people – the masses-get support and opportunities to actualize their potentials and dreams. We should support entrepreneurship and business to grow and thrive for employment to boom.” The progressive disposition of Senator Lawan as well as his people-oriented policy plans has not gone unnoticed by some members –elect and members of his campaign team. Senator Barau Jibrin from Kano North, who is the campaign Secretary, said with Senator Lawan’s agenda, Nigerians should brace up for a people friendly 9th Assembly. “You can see that apart from his cognate experience, Lawan means well for the Nigerian people, especially the ordinary Nigerians. Therefore, we should expect a preponderance of people-friendly legislations coming out of the Senate. And this is exactly what Nigerians are clamoring for at the moment.” In his reaction, the Chairman of the Campaign committee, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi from Kebbi North declared that Senator Lawan, “is eminently qualified for the position” and has the capacity “ to lead a Senate that will work with the Nigerian people’’.
For the Senator – elect on the platform of the YPP, Ifeanyi Uba, Senator Lawan deserves all the support he can get from all his colleagues and Nigerians in general.
Justifying the inter-party endorsements flowing in for Lawan, Chairman, Senate committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi declared that the PDP will also support Lawan’s ambition to lead the 9th senate.
*Meseko, a Public Affairs Analyst writes from Abuja