Indications have emerged on the position of President Muhammadu Buhari on the burning issue of who will run for the post of the Senate President in the 9th Senate as the struggle for the post rages.
This came as the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, may have up to three candidates for the post of the Senate President in the coming National Assembly Leadership election. This is as indications show that Senator Ali Ndume may not back down from the contest despite reported moves to get him to do so.
Also, another top APC Senator, Danjuma Goje, is set to declare for the same post in any moment soon as he is concluding plans to join the race.
It will be recalled that the National Leadership of the APC had endorsed Senator Ahmed Lawan as its candidate for the position of Senate President in the coming 9th Assembly. However, the some of the party members are not comfortable with the decision which was announced by the National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
However, Ndume seems so determined to go into the contest despite the party’s decision especially as he has consistently pointed out that President Buhari has not endorsed anyone for the position.
According to The Punch, an associate of Senator Ali Ndume, who is also a serving senator from the North-East geopolitical zone, has said that President Buhari will not interfere in the ninth National Assembly elections. The senator, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity on Thursday in Abuja, also denied news making the rounds that President Buhari planned to meet Ndume and Senator Danjuma Goje on the issue. He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has told everyone that he is for everybody. I trust him, he will not interfere in the ninth National Assembly leadership elections.
“The Presidency had issued two different statements since the leadership tussle for the presiding officers positions started. On each occasion, President Buhari reiterated his position not to interfere with the National Assembly leadership issues, so nobody should drag him into it. The President encouraged Senator Ndume when he told him about his ambition to contest the senate presidency. How do you think the same President Buhari will ask the senator to step down for someone else?
“The Presidency will accept any member of the APC that emerges as the National Assembly presiding officer. The President did not tell Senator Ndume anything before he travelled to the United Kingdom and he had no intention of discouraging him over his ambition. “
A presidency source also confirmed that President Buhari had remained unyielding to the subtle pressure to get him to endorse a particular candidate for the Senate presidency and speakership.
Also, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Danjuma Goje, will formally declare for the position of senate president next week after the passage of the 2019 budget, a ranking senator has said, Daily Trust reports.
The senator, who did not want to be named, said Goje delayed his declaration because of his commitment towards the quick passage of this year’s budget which was before his committee.
The senate fixed Tuesday next week for the consideration and passage of the 2019 budget. It is after the passage that Goje will make his official declaration, the ranking senator said.
Remember that the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe), and Sen. Mohamed Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) have declared their intention for the race. The APC national leadership zoned the position to the North East and adopted Lawan as its sole candidate.
However, the North East stakeholders, including the North East Consultative Forum (NECF), and five other groups in the zone, last week, endorsed Goje and demanded for his immediate declaration for the position.
A serving APC lawmaker said Goje did not want to combine his legislative work on the budget with the aspiration to vie for the senate presidency.He said other groups from across the country were mounting pressure on the former Governor of Gombe State to contest for the presidency of the red chamber.
The senator said Goje was of the belief that the passage of the budget should be paramount to all in view of its importance to the smooth running of the country. “His priority is to get the budget passed for the prompt assent of Mr. President. As a committed loyalist of the president and APC, he doesn’t want anything that would delay the passage of the budget. He is of the view and conviction that the success of the president is his and that of all Nigerians.”
“This was why he worked tirelessly and religiously to ensure the victory of the president, the governorship candidate and all others who vied on the platform of APC in Gombe State,” he said.
The ruling party may have a way of handling the situation ahead of the coming election so that it will not eventually have more than one candidate for the post of Senate President. The APC had vowed not to allow what happened in 2015 to repeat itself and resolve this situation peacefully will be a step in the right direction.
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