- To checkmate PDP’s plan to determine Senate leadership
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
As the race for the presidency of the ninth Senate intensifies, the Senator Ahmad Lawan for ninth Senate President Group has resolved to meet with two other ranking senators, Ali Ndume and Danjuma Goje, over the need for them to work together.
The plan, according to THISDAY sources in the group, is to checkmate moves by the opposing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to determine the leadership of the Senate that is billed for inauguration in June.
The PDP with 43 senators, according to THISDAY sources, plans to vote en bloc and is using its strategic number to negotiate with Goje and Ndume.
Apart from bidding for Deputy Senate President, the main opposition party is also negotiating for the chairmanship of strategic committees of the Senate.
With a division in the ranks of the All Progressives Congress (APC) senators-elect, the coast appears clear for the PDP to have its way with its 43 seats in the upper legislative chamber.
To prevent this eventuality, the camp of the official candidate of the APC, Lawan, is making intensive efforts to achieve consensus, necessitating conversations with Goje and Ndume.
Ndume, former Senate leader, who chairs the Senate Committee on Establishment, had last month made public his intention to vie for Senate president when the ninth National Assembly is inaugurated in June, while Goje, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, has not made public his intention but is discreetly working towards realising his ambition.
Sources close to Lawan, who is the Senate leader, with 20 years federal legislative experience, told Thisday yesterday that arrangements were afoot for Lawan to meet with his two rivals over the Senate presidency of the ninth National Assembly.
One of the sources, who is an APC senator-elect from the North-west, stated that with the completion of the one on one consultation with all senators-elect across party divides, the Lawan for Senate President Group believed it was high time their principal met with the other two gladiators.
He said Lawan, who had met personally with all senators-elect from all the six geo-political zones in the last one month to seek their individual support and why he remains the best candidate for the job, also thought it necessary to engage the other contestants.
“So on our part, we have agreed that Senator Lawan should meet with both Ndume and Goje and tell them about his mission and vision for the ninth Senate and by extension seek their support for the major task ahead,” the lawmaker said.
Another APC senator-elect from the South-west told Thisday that the meeting between Lawan and the two other aspirants will hold in Abuja in a matter of days.
The ranking senator added that the Lawan group is already reaching out to the two other aspirants “and once we have a clear picture the three of them will meet with a view to charting a new cause for the ninth Senate due for inauguration in less than six weeks.”
Meanwhile, there are indications that both Ndume and Goje may form a common front to challenge the ambition of Lawan.
Sources close to the two senators told Thisday at the weekend that the duo have been meeting on the need to form a coalition against the adoption of Lawan by the APC leadership led by its National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole.
According to the source, “The plan is to have a formidable force to checkmate the imposition of Lawan on the senators-elect and already Ndume and Goje are talking along this line with other senators-elect of like minds.”
Also yesterday, the North-east zone of the APC Youth wing has asked the party’s national chairman not to destroy the party.
The youth in a statement by their Secretary, Mr. Abubakar Maigari, likened the APC under Oshiomhole to a truck under the control of a drunken driver cascading down the hill without brake.
They said the last straw that will break the ruling party’s camel’s back is Oshiomhole’s desperation to impose leaders on the ninth National Assembly.
The party youth pointed out that the threat by Oshiomhole and former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, to send away members of the National Assembly, who oppose the imposition agenda is appalling.
According to the youth, it is irreconcilable that the same Tinubu, who orchestrated the removal of the APC leadership winning team led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and hoisted Oshiomhole on the party, is Oshiomhole’s alter-ego and partner to destruction of the party.
“Several members of the ruling party have been lost to the opposition since Oshiomhole became APC national chairman on June 23, 2018, yet the looming ninth National Assembly leadership election crisis may threaten the corporate existence of the ruling party,” the group said.