• We are yet to take decision, says main opposition party
Deji Elumoye and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The two main contenders for the position of Senate president of the 9th Senate, Senators Ahmad Lawan and Ali , at the weekend met again with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senators-elect in Abuja as part of their efforts to woo the legislators-elect.
This is coming as the main opposition party yesterday restated that its leadership is yet to take any collective decision on the issue of the Senate presidency.
Lawan and Ndume had last month met with the main opposition party’s Senators-elect during the two-week orientation course organised by the management of the National Assembly for 9th National Assembly’s legislators-elect in Abuja.
The latest meeting with the lawmakers is coming just as the pro-Lawan Senators expressed their readiness to right the wrongs of the eighth Senate as soon as the ninth Senate is inaugurated in June.
THISDAY gathered that Lawan (Yobe North), who is the Senate Leader and anointed candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) spent the better part of last week up till weekend meeting with both returning and fresh PDP Senators.
Sources privy to the meetings told THISDAY that the meetings held at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja campaign secretariat of Lawan, were aimed at further engaging the legislators on the need for them to support Lawan in his quest to take the National Assembly to a greater height.
At one of such meetings, former Interior Minister and PDP Senator-elect for Benue South, Abba Moro, assured Lawan of his support, adding that he will personally take the Lawan for 9th Senate Presidency campaign to his colleagues in the opposition party.
Spokesman of Ahmad Lawan Campaign Team, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, has alluded to the fact that the eighth Senate left many things undone, which the Ninth Senate under Lawan will improve upon.
Abdullahi, a returning Senator and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media, speaking yesterday on Lawan’s campaign activities declared that “I know that I am part of the outgoing Senate but to be frank, there were so many things we didn’t do right. So, our plan is to ensure that Lawan’s presidency improves on that.”
According to him, “we have been working and our contact and mobilisation committee has reached out to our colleagues. We are taking our campaign to the next level and we are not taking our chances lightly.
Sabi added that “we are solidly on ground and working round the clock to deliver our candidate on the day of inauguration and this is our preoccupation.
“We are selling Lawan’s strong attributes to our colleagues, which include integrity, intelligence and capability. We are also selling our agenda to our colleagues to buy into what we intend to do for the 9th Senate.
He expressed confidence that “with what we have done, on that day of inauguration, by the grace of God, we shall carry the day and Lawan will emerge as president of the 9th Senate. No cause for alarm and we are marching forward”.
On his part, Ndume (Borno South), former Senate Leader and Chairman of Senate Committee on Establishments, met privately with some of the 44 PDP Senators-elect in Abuja.
THISDAY learnt that the consultative meeting between Ndume and the legislators held at a private residence in Maitama area of Abuja, was aimed at further getting the commitment of the Senators towards his cause.
Ndume was said to have told his colleagues that he is the best candidate for the coveted position based on his past legislative experience and commitment towards a better society through inclusive legislative intervention.
Also at the weekend, there appears a sharp disagreement among Senators-elect over the voting method to be adopted in electing officers for the 9th Senate when inaugurated in June.
THISDAY gathered that Senators-elect who are loyal to Lawan, are canvassing for the adoption of the open ballot system, which was last used in 2011.
The Pro- Ndume Senators, on the other hand, are also said to be making frantic efforts to ensure that the secret ballot system, which the 2015 Senate Rule Book provided for and which had already been distributed to all Senators-elect, are used for the election.