The battle for the number three seat in the nation has become much more fierce as the intense ongoing lobbying for the position among returning senators and senators-elect heats up in the All Progressives Congress (APC) camp.
Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe State seems to be the more favoured candidate for the position judging from the statements and reports of the party’s leadership. He suddenly became the front runner when he got the endorsement of the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Following Tinubu’s endorsement, the APC caucuses in the North West and South West quickly declared their support for Lawan’s candidacy.
The main opposition of Lawan’s Senate Presidency dream has arisen not from outside his zone but from within the returning senators and senators-elect from his own North Central zone. At least 12 on Friday, May 1, 2015 said that they were against his aspirations and would not support his emergence as consensus candidate.
Speaking at a news conference, the senators led by Danjuma Goje from Gombe Central said that they were still pleading with the leadership of the party to zone the position to their region, adding that they had not picked a consensus candidate. They also vowed to resist any attempt by anyone or group of people, to impose a candidate on them and that they would decide on the consensus candidate on their own instead of queuing behind a candidate endorsed by outsiders.
Goje explained that senators from the North-East held a caucus meeting on Thursday night at the Kaduna room, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja with Lawan himself in attendance. He said the meeting resolved that the caucus should be allowed to consult with the party leadership to nominate their preferred candidate for the position.
Goje alleged that Lawan sneaked out of the meeting while they were still agreeing on the resolutions, only for him to be announced few minutes after as the candidate endorsed from the North-East for the post of Senate President by both the North-West and South-West senate caucuses. He said, “This to us, the remaining 12 APC senators-elect from the zone, is fraudulent and unacceptable and in fact, desperation at its peak.”
Goje insisted that 12 out of the 13 APC senators-elect from the North-East had resolved to establish the zone’s caucus for the 8th Senate. He appealed to the APC highest hierarchy to zone the highest position in the National Assembly, that is, the position of Senate President, to the zone in view of its peculiar circumstances adding that the caucus also demanded from the party leadership an opportunity to nominate whoever it wants for the position, after due consultation with the party leadership.
Goje, the former Gombe State governor, said, “Therefore, in the light of the above resolutions, we call on all Nigerians to completely disregard any purported endorsement of any Senator from the North-East by any zone for the position yet because any post, zoned to us, must have our input.
‘”We don’t know anything about any endorsement of anybody from the North-East being touted around on the pages of newspapers.
“We dissociate ourselves from any endorsements from other zones because the party has not zoned any position to us yet and we don’t want to jump the gun.”