Party Will Play Into Our Hands, Says Minority Leader Olujimi
.Lawan Most Experienced For Senate President — Bamidele
Temidayo Akinsuyi, samuel ogidan
Lagos / abuja – Concerted efforts being made by the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to pacify some senators who are against its zoning formula in the selection of the leadership of the National Assembly failed to yield its desired result as Senators Danjuma Goje and Ali Ndume insisted on vying for Senate presidency in the 9th National Assembly.
While Ndume has insisted that he will not step down for the party’s anointed candidate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, Goje, who is believed to enjoy the support of senators elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) even though he has not formally declared his intention, is believed to be working underground to subvert APC leadership decision.
It is widely believed that the leadership of the APC which is working tirelessly to avoid the coup plot of 2015 is in talk with Goje to withdraw from the race and support Lawan, who will in turn compensate him with a juicy committee headship.
However, on Thursday, Goje was openly called upon by a group of Amalgamated Youths from the North-East to declare his ambition without any further delay. A move political analysts said was one of Goje’s schemes.
In making the call at the entrance to the National Assembly, the group led by one Bello Ambo from Bauchi State, said neither the endorsement of Lawan by the national leadership of APC nor expression of interest by Senator Ndume should prevent Goje from throwing his hat into the ring now.
According to him, as far as public service experience is concerned, Goje stands far above the other two having controlled a whole state for eight years between 2003 and 2011 and being in the Senate since then with required parliamentary experience.
“Position of Senate president requires administrative and parliamentary knowledge enormously possessed by Goje as against the two other contenders from the zone”, he said.
When reminded that the ruling party has taken a final decision on who should occupy the position with the endorsement of Lawan last week Monday, the coordinator of the group said senators-elect are mature people who can decide who their leader should be and should be allowed to do so.
“Our party (APC) is a party of the people and not few leaders. The party should allow the people in this case, senators-elect, to decide whoever they want as their leader in whatever capacity.
“For us the Goje Support Groups from the North East for the presidency of the 9th Senate (GSGNE), Senator Danjuma Goje is the right man for the job. He has the required experience as tested administrator and high ranking lawmaker.
“He is a man of the people and a senator with all what it takes, in carrying others along across party lines and most importantly, a party man to the core who will fit perfectly into the next level agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari”, he said.
Speaking on the development on Channels Television programme, ‘Politics Today’ on Thursday, Opeyemi Bamidele, senator-elect for Ekiti Central, said they are concerned that events of 2015 does not repeat itself again, especially the needless confrontation between the executive and legislative arms of government.
“It’s not about Lawan. The concern we have is that it must not be the same old story. We all saw what happened in 2015. When there is confrontation with executive and legislative arms of government, it is the country that suffers.
“From all who have come out to contest as Senate president, I have not seen anyone who is not eminently qualified but there are global parliamentary best practices that must be followed.
“This is about democracy and definitely you cannot stop people who feel strongly about contesting from contesting but we need a leadership that is not only experienced but that can relate with people across party lines.
“Senator Lawan is the most experienced. By the time we will be inaugurated, he would have spent 20 years in the National Assembly”, he said.
Also speaking on the same programme, Senator Abiodun Olujimi, the Minority Leader of the Senate, said while the PDP will not field any candidate for the position of Senate president, the ruling APC will play into their hands.
Olujimi said anyone contesting for the position of Senate presidency and thinks 44 PDP senators out of 109 senators are not needed will be making the greatest mistake of his life.
“The controversy is unnecessary because the dynamics of the Senate is different from what is outside. What will happen is that whoever will be the Senate president will have to network between APC and PDP lawmakers.
“Anyone who thinks 44 members out of 109 senators are not important will have another thing coming. Anyone who ignored that will suffer just like it happened when we resumed in 2015.
“No. We are not going to field a candidate but they are going to play into our hands”, she said.