Deji Elumoye in Abuja
A former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, has said that his ambition to be the Senate president of the ninth Senate is aimed at contributing to the development of the country at a higher level.
Ndume who spoke to journlists in Abuja Wednesday declared that “my mission for the ninth Senate is not personal but is part of what we need to do for the progress of the polity of this country”.
According to him, the Senators-elect are supposed to decide who among them is to lead them “and that is taken care of by Section 50(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”
He acknowledged that he is not the most qualified candidate for the position of Senate president.
“Let me quickly add that it is not to say that I think I am more qualified to be the Senate president. I am not better than them in any way. Most of them were born with silver spoons; I came from a very poor background. My father was not educated. I am the son of nobody that became somebody.
“I am a human being that has rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which I won’t compromise.
“Even before I threw my hat into the ring for the Senate president’s seat, my people called on me to go for the position.”
He attributed his vying for the coveted position to three reasons, including being eminently qualified and zoning of the position to North-east where he comes from
“One, I feel I am qualified. Two, I feel I should be given the chance. Three, the zoning was made to North-east deliberately because of the precarious situation that we find ourselves,” he explained.
According to him, the Boko Haram insurgency has inflicted a loss of N9.2 trillion on the North-east and you need somebody who knows where it pinches.
“We in Borno State are in the epicentre of the Boko Haram destruction. So, it is not like what you will get from the Office of the Senate President but what you can do with it,” he added.
He said as Senate president in this country, “you will be able to globetrot around, and tell people how the problem is because you are in the heart of the problem. You know how it is and how it feels.
“So, if this opportunity is given to us, we have three critical issues in Borno State, particularly and the North-east in general.
“One is the issue of recharging of Lake Chad, which should be taken globally by somebody that knows it; somebody that can explain better to the people.
“Two, the issue of insurgency as I said, had inflicted a N9.2-trillion damage on us. If we are to go by monthly federal allocation and the budget of the state, it will take us ages to recover.
“Right now, you can rightly say that Borno is a failed state. And the only way to bring it back is to have a way. And part of it is because I know and my passion for it because it affects me directly.
“Right now as I am speaking to you, I cannot comfortably drive to my local government. It has no light now because it is not connected. It has no telephone because the insurgents have destroyed the equipment. The ecosystem is destroyed, our schools are closed.
“Secondly, I have been in this place for quite a while. The Senate was intended to be a stabilising institution in the polity. When we came in, the senators were not doing much. I was in the House of Representatives then,” he explained.