6 hours ago/
Former Senate Leader, Sen. Ali Ndume, (Borno South) has an axe to grind with the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, over the adoption of Sen. Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North) as the party’s candidate for the Senate Presidency of the 9th National Assembly.
Ndume, one of those in the race for the coveted position, is angry with Oshiomhole for allegedly sidelining him and other contenders to declare Lawan the consensus candidate of the party.
Sunday Telegraph learnt that Ndume felt highly betrayed by the leadership of his party because he had consulted them and written to the party, officially notifying them of his intention to vie for the office of the Senate President before the “unilateral” decision to sponsor Lawan for the position was taken.
In addition to formally communicating with the party on the issue, Ndume had, weeks before the race began, met with the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to intimate him with his ambition and sought his support.
In a letter dated March 25, 2019, and addressed to the National Chairman of the APC, Ndume said he was notifying the party of his intention to contest for the position, believing that it would be zoned to the North East geo-political zone,
The letter which was delivered and receipt acknowledged same day read as follows:
“Following the successful conduct of the 2019 General Election and the overwhelming victory
of our great party, the APC at all levels, I hereby forward my letter of intent to contest for the Office of the President of the Senate in the 9th National Assembly. I say this in the hope that the office would be zoned to the North East geo-political zone.
I am higly optimistic that the party leadership will see the desired wisdom in zoning the Senate Presidency to the North East due to our sterling performance in the 2019 polls, giving the President, the second highest votes cast.
I also wish to add that the exalted Office of the President of the Senate will help accelerate socio-economic development of the insurgency-ravaged people of the North East whose respite came with the coming of this administration in 2015.
I wish to emphasise that my decision to contest for the Senate Presidency is informed by my conviction to contribute my quota to nation building, my vast legislative experience and my deep desire to take Nigeria to the Next Level of development
“This is in addition to calls by respected parties both within the North East and other parts of the country, encouraging my aspiration. For these reasons and more, I wish to forward myself for the blessings of the party, my colleagues in the Senate and fellow Nigerians for the post of the Presidency of the Senate.”
Ndume did not just send the latter to Oshiomhole, but also copied President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Sunday Telegraph gathered that Ndume is angry that these key party leaders whom he had taken into confidence on his ambition failed him when the chips were down. According to Ndume, on the night Lawan was endorsed by the party leaders and presented to senators-elect at a dinner held at the Presidential Villa, it was shocking to him that he and many of his colleagues were taken unawares.
“We are supposed to be given the chance to elect our president since it has been zoned. Allow senators from the North East to decide and consult on who they want. I wrote to the party that I want to run. I deserve that honour to be invited and told not to contest for the position. I wasn’t given that honour. I was thinking that since Lawan has indicated his interest and Goje is also indicating his interest, as well as as Adamu Abdullahi, we were supposed to have been consulted. We deserve that respect and honour.
“The President was called upon to make his remarks and after that, the national anthem was recited and that was the end of the meeting. Even the chosen candidate was not given the chance to thank us or say something about it. Those of us that have indicated interests were not consulted or given the chance to make any comments. I left there with that shock and went home,” Ndume said.
Sunday Telegraph investigations also revealed that there has been love lost between Ndume and Sen. Ahmad Lawan after the latter upstaged Ndume in a chamber coup in 2017. At the inauguration of the 8th Assembly in 2015, Ndume had formed an alliance with the Saraki group in the red chamber for which he was rewarded with the position of Senate Leader while Lawan who was tipped by the APC for the Senate Presidency was left floating.
However, when Ndume fell out with Saraki and became a pain in the neck, Lawan moved in and took over his seat one afternoon when Ndume allegedly went out to ease himself. It is believed that Ndume had not forgiven Lawan for that betrayal and would stop at nothing to frustrate Lawan’s current aspiration.