By Nwngwu Uba
Not many people were surprised that Ahmad Lawan, a Senator elected under the platform of the All Progressive Congress, APC, from Borno state, North east geo-political region defeated Senator Ali Ndume, also, from the Borno state, to clinch the president of the Senate.
This is because President Muhammadu Buhari, who could sit by and watch the National Assembly members elect their own leaders in the spirit of Separation of Powers had intervened to forestall a hostile Camp backed by the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, taking over the leadership of the Assembly.
Note that the party National Working Committee, NWC, at the instance of the Katsina state born Nigerian President had adopted Lawan and Ovie Omo-Agege, a Senator elected under the platform of the APC, from Delta state, to be the deputy Senate President respectively.
The Value News learnt that for much of last week and late Monday, June 10, 2019, the Presidency and the NWC, including the state governors , elected under the platform of the party had worked round the clock to ensure that the duo presented by the party take over the leadership of the 9th Senate by getting block votes from the APC elected Senators. The respective
Note that the APC has a simple majority in the both the Senate and the House of Representatives, which places it on a better position to produce the leadership of the NASS. Danjuma Goje,a former governor of Gombe state, may have read the handwriting on the wall that whoever may be sponsored by the party for the positions of the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker of House of Representatives or the Deputy Speaker, will be difficult to defeat by any other Candidate backed by the Opposition PDP, that he quickly withdrew from the race to support the party adopted Candidates.
rji Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Abia, who had signed interest for the position of the deputy had remained hesitant insisting that he will contest for the position on the floor of the Senate. He was said to have withdrawn from the race when there was intense pressure on him from both official and unofficial quarters to do so.
The pressure on him became more
The APC, NWC, did not want to take chances by giving Kalu, the former Abia governor, the go ahead to test his popularity on the floor of the Senate as it did to Ndume but forced him to withdrew and throw his weight behind Lawan, the President’s Candidate. He has no option as a Party loyal member than to support the Borno state politician in his Campaigns to defeat Ndume.
The coast was left open for the
Unknown to him, the President and the APC NWC, had concluded plans to those that would take over the leadership of the NASS, and his name was not on the list. It was a complete break from the immediate hostile Bukola Saraki, a former governor of Kwarra state era.
The pattern of voting in the Senate and the House of Representatives clearly shows that the Presidency and the party NWC, had made up their mind on the leaders of the 9th Senate. The Senators who were called out one after the other, by the presiding officer of the election at the Senate to cast their votes on the floor of the Senate did not hesitate in doing so. The 107 Senators may have voted according to party divide going by the scores of each of the Candidates.
There are indications that Ekweremadu , for instance, may have lost some of the votes from the PDP fesh and ranking Senators who were not happy that he had occupied the position of the deputy Senate President since the fifth and 8th Senate and therefore, should give room for another person person to occupy the position for a change. He may not have the read the hanwriting on the wall as Goje did, as he accepted his nomination for the position and proudly came out to address the Senators on why he should be voted as the deputy Senate President. It was therefore not surprising why Omo-Agege scored 69 votes to his 28 votes, described in political circles as a humiliation considering how he emerged in 8th Senate despite opposition from the Presidency.
Political watchers believe that if the ranking Senators were satisfied with the performance of the Saraki and Ekweremadu leadership, they would have molised the first time Senators to support him to defeat the APC Candidate, . But the APC , Candidate eventually won him in the election to occupy the Seat of Deputy Senate President.
Earlier , Lawan, may have shown to Ndume, described in political circles , as a very inconsistent politician with a wide margin to clinch the Senate President. He had polled 79 votes to Ndume’s 18, an indication that most PDP, Senators , who he had hoped will support him had voted massively for Lawan, the adopted APC , Candidate , anticipating placement in juicy Committees. The emergence of Lawan as the Senate President may have thrown the Borno state in jubilation as indigenes described him as a man of the people amidst cheers.
The voting pattern in the Senate was not different from that of the House of Representatives. Despite the initial Campaign of calumny mounted against Femi Gbajabiamila, the President and Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state adopted Candidate,by those opposed to him over his alleged conviction in the United States of America, USA, he sill polled 281 votes to beat Mohammed Bago, his closest rival who got 76 votes. Mohammed IDris Wase, a Plateau state born politician, from Wase , local government who may have won the heart of the President because of his conduct in the House has ran a joint ticket with Gbajabiamila, the Speaker-elect of the House. He succeeds Yusuf Lasun from Osun state, south west Nigeria.
The President who could not hide his feelings that the party adopted Candidates emerged victorious in the National Assembly election described it as a ”dew down different from that of the immediate past”. He has saluted the lawmakers and their parties , over their” display of patrotism and non-partisanship before and during the election”, noting that the” voting process was vey transparent and fair in nature” as the losers congratulated the winners. ‘It is a plus for the democracy being practiced in the country ‘, he had said.
Uche Secondus, the National Chairman, PDP, thinks differently. He is not happy that the President and the APC ,NWC, were instrumental, in the election of the principal officers of the 9th Assembly , stating that the ”doctrine of separation of powers must be respected and guided to avoid dictatorship”.
The PDP National Chairman fears that given the dictatorial tendencies of the Buhari Administration seen in the last four years, and his continuous propensity to disregard the rule of law and the principles of democracy, the country may be worse for it in the next four years, now that that his loyalists are at the helm of affairs in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
According to him, the President and the APC,NWC, had used intimidation and coercion against the legislators who were not ready to do their bidding in their desperation to ensure that the party adopted Candidates emerge as the new leaders of the upper and lower legislative Chambers. Given his assessment of the election, he said , the presidency and the party NWC, arm twisted the technocrat officials of the NASS to fashion out rules that favoured the party.
The PDP National Chairman, insists that the Presidency has finally achieved their long time plan of taking over the 9th NASS which began in August last year during the state sponsored stealing of the Senate mace and the aborted seizure of the 8th Assembly. An aggrieved Secondus, the PDP , opined that the country may be heading towards a” full blown dictatorship” which many believe are only noticeable in military dictatorships.
Given the position of the PDP National Chairman on the elected NASS leaders, nobody expected the party to Congratulate them or wish them well in their new assignment but the party did so. Kola Ologbondiyan, the party National Publicity Secretary had issued a Statement last Tuesday, in Abuja, where the party had” acknowledged the newly elected Senate President, deputy Senate President as well as the newly elected Speaker and deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively, on their new positions”.
The party was said to have urged the lawmakers , particular, the principal officers, to” uphold the tenets of democracy and the dictates of the Constitution”, without allowing themselves to be manipulated by the Presidency.
Indeed, the Presidency, and the National Assembly officials performed their first official function together, with smiles and laughter at the Eagle Square, Abuja, at the 20th, June 12, democracy day celebration and the first to be officially celebrated in the country since the amendment of the Public Holiday Act by the 8th NASS, which had been signed into law by the President.
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