The intrigues which have accompanied the race for the Senate Presidency have left the ruling party in the country, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a state of disarray for long time.
However, there seem to be some sort of respite from the whole brouhaha as the President who had been quiet for a long time has finally made a timely intervention.
Before we analyse the sagacity of the President, let us go back to the genesis of the problem so that we can get a better understanding of what led to the issues in the first place, and what this recent development entails.
It had begun in 2015, after the All Progressives Congress (APC) swept the polls across the country in virtually all the elections. The positions of the National Assembly were not left out of the political tsunami as the APC produced the majority in both chambers of the Assembly.
Top shots in the party went on to hand-pick certain candidates to serve as the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Reps. That was where the root of every issue that was to bedevil the ruling party – as far as the National Assembly was concerned – began.
In 2015, the APC seem were not really prepared for power as it was the first time another party would be taking over from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, at the Federal Level. The events that followed the victory of the party in the elections showed that a serious problem was lurking in the horizon.
The party had touted Senator Ahmed Lawan for the position of Senate Presidency, while Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila was positioned to serve as Speaker of the House of Reps. This however, did not see the light of day as Senator Bukola Saraki, a member of the APC then, connived with his loyalists in the party and members of the opposition, PDP, to emerge as Senate President.
In the process, a Senator from the opposition, Ike Ekweremadu, emerged as the Deputy Senate President, which had never occurred in the history of the country.
In like manner, Yakubu Dogara, who was a member of the APC as well, connived with PDP House Members who gave him their bloc vote and enabled him to defeat the anointed candidate of the APC, Femi Gbajabiamila, in the Speakership race.
Fast forward to 2019, this same problem reared its head once more, after the ruling party again emerged victorious at the polls.
At a parley with lawmaker-elects and the President almost immediately after results were declared, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) announced that the party had settled for both Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila to head the National Assembly.
This had left some of the lawmaker-elects on the platform of the ruling party in dismay, as they had claimed that there was no consultations with them before the choice was made, with some saying that they had intentions to run for these positions as well.
Thus the problem which had knocked the dreams of the party in 2015 was reborn. Two prominent Senators in the fold of the party, Senator Ali Ndume and Senator Danjuma Goje, had indicated their interest in running for Senate Presidency, with both vowing not to step down for Senator Ahmed Lawan, the anointed candidate of the party.
As if the defiance of both Senators was not enough, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu had said that anybody who is refusing to tow the line of the party will be dealt with. The National Chairman of the party had also said that the decision of the party was final, and that the APC would not share any of its power with the opposition PDP.
This had further infuriated the dissenting law makers as they vowed not to allow an imposition on the National Assembly as it was supposed to be an independent arm of government.
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo had even held a meeting with Senator Ali Ndume who had been the most vocal on his aspirations. Ndume however, at the end of the meeting had said no one could tell him to step down from the Senate Presidency race, as he had made his intentions known to both the President and the National Leader of the party even before coming out to declare, and that none of them had told him to step down.
It was looking like the 2015 experience was bound to occur all over again, with the PDP fancying their chances after they were awarded three additional seats in the Senate, swelling the number of senators in their ranks to 44.
Something had to be done, and fast, as the President had lamented on the frosty relationship he had with the past leadership of the National Assembly.
This prompted the President to call for a meeting with the Senator who was rumoured to be the choice of the opposition party, PDP, for Senate President, Senator Danjuma Goje.
The meeting turned out to be productive as the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, announced that Senator Goje had dropped his aspirations and had declared his support for Lawan.
In his own words, while explaining his decision, Senator Goje said the following:
“Instead, I am supporting the party’s position thereby endorsing the candidature of Sen. Lawan.
“I am not compelled to step down; I have been winning my elections many times from local government to House of Assembly to National Assembly to governorship and I was also a minister.
“To say that I have been threatened to support somebody, no. I am supporting Lawan based on my own conviction that I am doing the right thing for our country, for our president.’’
This move is a very deft one as the PDP will have to go back to the drawing board to decide on who they will now pit up against the choice of the APC in the National Leadership tussle.
What is more? The PDP will currently be in a state of disarray as the time left for the opposition party to strategise and perfect their plans is very limited – barely one week.
With this show of political maturity, the President and his party, the APC may have just proven that they are now ready for business, as the coast seems clear for the party to finally see its wish come true, after a four year delay.
Do you agree with this assertion? Let us know with your comments in the comment section below.