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Senate Presidency: Lawan’s support base suffers heavy blow as Saraki power play changes equation

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The ongoing gimmicks and intrigues for the position of the president of the 9th Senate took another dimension yesterday as a major aspirant, Senator Danjuma Goje stepped down after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari brokered by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State.

The power tussle is now between the longest-serving member of the National Assembly in the 9th Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, the current Senate majority leader and his predecessor, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume.

Both aspirants, from Northeast extraction, are ranking members of the Red chambers and are chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). While the party machinery has been swayed to favour a Lawan Senate presidency,  Ndume is more of a political orphan deriving a political right to contest from our extant laws.

Although the ruling party is circumscribed to only an external influence, Lawan needs the internal cohesion of his party and the support of the main opposition party in the upper legislative chambers, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to emerge victoriously.

This has become the bane of Lawan whose party support and that of the presidency is unwavering. His fears are not unconnected with the dissatisfaction of notable senators from within his party as a result of Adams Oshiomole’s unilateral endorsement of his candidature without any form of consultations. The senators who were irked by that tyrannical imposition of candidate on them have vowed to teach Oshiomhole some lessons on how to best govern a political party with many entrenched interests.

That political misgiving of the former labour leader has been capitalised on by the PDP to spur the many APC senators whose feathers were left unruffled by that endorsement to go against the wish of the party. It was turned into a game of pride. So many lawmakers who spoke to TheNigerian News were of the considered view that Oshiomhole’s actions were a slap on their sensibilities meant to deride their political powers and must be resisted.

A few others also differed preferring the candidacy of Senator Ali Ndume who they said is more humble, accessible and possessed the requisite qualities to occupy the position. While the intrigues went on, many lawmakers, especially of the PDP, are said to have been indecisive waiting to follow the lead of the outgoing Senate President, Sen. Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki before they could finally decide on where to stamp their votes on the 11th of June when the Senate will be inaugurated.

The outgoing Senate President is said to have been averse to the candidacy of Senator Ahmed Lawan owing to the way the ruling party is going with his candidature. The London trained medical doctor also fears that the Senate under Lawan’s leadership will not be “bold” and “courageous” enough to deepen our Democracy by insisting on an independent Senate.

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