Lawan’s Bid For Senate Presidency Gets A Boost

Senators-elect under the aegis of the Unity Forum, penultimate Wednesday, formally informed the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of their support for the Lawan-Akume Senate Presidency ticket, just as the party assured them that the extant Standing Order of the chamber will be adhered to in its final decision.

This was contained in a letter signed by Senators Barnabas Gemade, Abu Ibrahim, Olusola Adeyeye, Abdullahi Adamu and Bukar Abba Ibrahim with the signatures of their members attached and the group’s resolutions.

They resolved that “Senator Ahmed Lawan shall be the highest ranking APC Senator and George Akume the second highest ranking APC Senator in the 8th Assembly in the 8th Assembly. This is so, as Ahmad Lawan has spent 16 years in the National Assembly; eight years in the House of Representatives and another eight years in the Senate. Thus, Senator Ahmad Lawan is the most qualified to be the Senate President, while Senator George Akume is the most qualified to be the Deputy Senate President of the 8th Assembly in accordance with Rule 3 Order (2) of the Extant Senate Standing Orders.

“Nomination of senators to serve as presiding officers and appointments of principal officers and other officers of the Senate or on any Parliamentary delegations shall be in accordance with the ranking of senators. In determining ranking, the following Order shall apply-Senators retiring based on number of times re-elected; Senators who had been members of the House of Representatives; and Senators elected as Senators for the first time.”

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Tension Heats Up As APC Picks Senate Presidency Candidate

The criteria recently announced by the National Working Committee, NWC, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on how the Senate President in the 8th Senate will emerge is generating ripples among senators.

Meanwhile, it was learnt last night that the meeting between the APC leadership and senators-elect where a consensus on the issue of the Senate President was to be resolved may have been shifted.

One of the two camps was said to have pressed for the shift because of the insufficiency of the support it was expecting to show to the party leadership. The APC NWC, at its meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday night, had listed certain criteria which the next Senate president must possess.

Some of the criteria stipulated that the party’s candidate for the post must come from the geopolitical zone with the second highest number of votes after the North-West during the Presidential election held on March 28.

It also said that the next Senate president must not have any corruption charges hanging on his or her neck and should be one of the most ranking senators in the current Fourth Republic.

A senator privy to the meeting said the leadership of the party was mandated to, within three days, present the most eligible aspirant as consensus candidate for the post based on the listed criteria during inauguration next week.

The two leading contestants are Senators Bukola Saraki (Kwara Central) and Ahmad Lawan ( Yobe North ).

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Senate Presidency: APC Moves To Resolve Issues

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is making moves to resolve the rift caused by the tussle over leadership of the upper and lower chambers of the National Assembly.

In a statement in Abuja on Tuesday by the APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party explained that it would meet with the federal lawmakers on Thursday.

“The All Progressives Congress (APC) will hold a crucial meeting with all its senators-elect and House of Representatives members-elect on Thursday, June 4 at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.

“The party will meet with its senators-elect at 10 a.m. while the meeting with its elected members of the House of Representatives is scheduled for 2 p.m. on the same day at the same venue”.

It urged all the elected APC federal lawmakers to be punctual for the meetings. The party, in preparing the lawmakers for the 8th Assembly, held a retreat for the lawmakers on May 22 and May 25.

Credit: NAN

Senate Presidency: 40 APC Senators-Elect, Others Endorse Lawan

Senate Unity Forum, the group supporting Ahmed Lawan for Senate President and George Akume as deputy, said it had the support of 40 senators-elect of All Progressives Congress (APC).

Leader of the group, Sen. Barnabas Gemade (APC Benue North-East), stated this during an interaction with journalists attached to the National Assembly on Wednesday in Abuja.

Gemade also claimed that the group had the support of the majority of the 49 senators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He said that the group had found Lawan and Akume most qualified for the jobs which was why the senators decided to support them.

Gemade said that their candidacy would ensure stability and improvement which had been enshrined in the conduct of activities at the Senate in the last eight years. “We are happy to unveil to you that this is the plan that the Unity Forum and the 8th Senate have, and by the Grace of God, we will actualise the plan.

“We have 40 APC senators-elect that have keyed into this project. Other PDP senators-elect have also keyed in to this project. We are not publishing the list of all the senators because we know that a lot is being done; a lot of claims are being made, so it is not proper to join anyone in making any claims. The day we will give you the list, all those concerned will be present and you will match the list with the faces that will be present,” he said.

Gemade acknowledged that there were a lot of issues to be tackled in the 8th assembly and stressed that that was why the leadership of the National Assembly must lead by example.

Reacting to a list presented by another contender for the position, he said that a list with signature does not proof anything. He explained that the people whose names were on the list should have been there to answer for themselves. He said that when the group would bring out its list, it would not just flash it to the journalists but would give copies to them.

In his remark, Sen. Ahmed Lawan (APC Yobe North) assured that the 8th Senate under his leadership would ensure independence of the legislature. “We have had eight years of stability and I will like to build on that. There is need for consensus in the 8th Senate which is unique in the history of Nigeria with 59 APC senators and 49 PDP senators. The gap is narrow hence the need for consensus between the two sides. The National Assembly must never be a rubber stamp to the executive,” he said.

Lawan also said that he would work to cut down on the cost of governance, fight corruption and partner with other arms of government as well as the legislature in the states.

Credit: NAN

Senate Presidency: Lawan, Saraki Go Head To Head

The joint ticket of Senators Ahmad Lawan and George Akume for the Senate presidency is now gaining more support from senators of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as members of the Unity Forum have increased to 40.

The race for the presidency of the 8th Senate had narrowed down last Saturday to a straight fight between Lawan and Dr Bukola Saraki after Akume from the North Central and his supporters teamed up with Lawan from the North-East.

At a two-day retreat organised by the APC for its senators-elect, Akume was said to have agreed to take the ticket of deputy Senate president after consultations with his fellow senators and party leaders.

Reports gathered that the Unity Forum, under the chairmanship of Senator Barnabas Gemade, which forged a consensus in support of Lawan as Senate president and Akume as deputy, presently boasts of 40 members.

Investigation revealed that since the Lawan/Akume ticket was announced, some APC senators, who were undecided, have finally thrown in their hat in favour of the duo.

“Many senators-elect who were yet to make up their minds before our retreat have now come on board because of the ticket and our issues-based campaign,” a ranking senator-elect who spoke to this paper on condition of anonymity, noted.

He said the Lawan/Akume ticket for the Senate presidency race was recording more successes with 40 of them on board at the last count, adding that opposition leaders in the chamber were just as excited by the team.

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Senate Presidency: Akume Steps Down For Lawan, Saraki

At the end of a two-day retreat organised by the All Progressives Congress, APC,for Senators elected under the platform of the party, two major contenders for the Senate Presidency have emerged.

Former Governor of Kwara state, Bukola Saraki, who PREMIUM TIMES exclusively reported had the backing of 34 Senators as at the time the retreat began is still ahead of the chairman Senate committee on Public Accounts, Ahmed Lawan, from Yobe State.

Another contender, former Benue Governor, George Akume, has reportedly stepped down for Mr. Lawan in exchange for being selected as the Deputy Senate President.

Although the party did not formally address the press or issue a communique at the end of the retreat, two groups, “Like Mind Senators” and “Senate Unity Forum” separately addressed the press and declared their support for the two candidates.

The ‘like mind senators’ who said they are 35 in number out of the 59 APC Senators expressed their support for Mr. Saraki. The remaining 24 in the Senate Unity Forum expressed support for Mr. Lawan who is said to enjoy the support of APC national leader and former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu.

Senator-elect Dino Melaye, who address the press on behalf of the ‘Like Mind Senators’ displayed to the media a document he said contained the signatures of 35 Senators who have agreed to support Mr. Saraki.

Mr. Melaye’s address came shortly after the ‘Senate Unity Forum’ also addressed the media where it announced that Mr. Akume had stepped down for Mr. Lawan.

In the address by Mr. Melaye, he said “Of the 59 senators of the APC, 35 of us present here today hereby reaffirm our collective commitment and resolution to ensure that the candidature of Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki as the Senate President of the 8th Assembly.” He also said the deputy to Mr. Saraki would come from the north-east, although no name was mentioned for the position as consultations continue.

On their part, the Senate Unity Forum in their address read by former national chairman of the PDP, Barnabas Gemade, said they have adopted a joint ticket of Messrs. Lawan and Akume.

“We, the Senate Unity Forum, comprising of senators-elect from various states and zones of Nigeria, have met, held extensive discussions and resolved to support Senator Ahmad Lawan as Senate President and Senator George Akume as Deputy Senate President of the 8th Senate,” Mr. Gemade said.

With the positions taken by the two group, what is left is for them to lobby their colleagues from other parties especially the PDP. A lawmaker attending the retreat had informed PREMIUM TIMES Sunday that Mr. Saraki has the support of majority PDP senators-elect. He said the candidature of the former Kwara governor is being championed in the PDP group by Senators Andy Uba and Godswill Akpabio. Mr. Saraki defected from the PDP to the APC following the crisis of 2013 when five governors left the PDP for the APC.


Senate Presidency: We Will Not Compromise Merit- Tinubu

The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, says merit will not be compromised while choosing the Senate President.

Tinubu said this in Abuja on Thursday after holding a closed-door meeting with the President-elect Muhammadu Buhari.

He said he would not go against anything the party decided but assured that merit would not be compromised while making the decision.

He said: “Well, you have heard from the party; you have heard from leadership. My desire is not to rock the party. I am a disciplined party man and we will look at it critically.

“However, the nation is expecting us to take a decisive leadership decision. Merit would not be compromised. You have to be competent; you have to possess the character for the leadership.

“You have to be PAN Nigerian and be a very solid character to lead the National Assembly and that is what we are talking about,” he said.

Tinubu said the party had decided, in a meeting, that zoning would not be considered in choosing the leader because it could “compromise the credibility, qualification of an individual. “Let everybody aspire just like we aspired”.

He said predictions were rife during the APC presidential primaries that the party would run into “chaotic storm”. “We put those people to shame and came up with the best. Expect the best from us always,” he said.

Credit: NAN

Benue State Backs Akume For Senate Presidency

Political leaders in the Benue State are backing George Akume’s candidature for the position of Senate President.

The leaders, under the auspices of Benue Rebirth Initiative, expressed their commitment to work for the success of the legislator in his bid to succeed David Mark.

“We sincerely wish to use this medium to affirm to Nigerians and the rest of Africa that the bitter tribal discord between the various ethnic components of Benue State has been buried through the concerted efforts of this group in honour of Senator George Akume’s detribalized and nationalistic posture,” the organisation said.

The organisation said Akume’s Senate Presidency would bring rapid development of the north central geopolitical hemisphere by the practical demonstration of his mass followership cutting across every stratum of the society and the expected collaboration with the incoming administration of the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, to deliver on the All Progressives Congress manifesto.

“We wish to throw our total support behind Senator George Akume, which is not only to confirm his evergreen political image in the minds of the poor masses of Benue State but to reaffirm our commitment to the unity of purpose that the interest of Benue State must come before the selfish interest of a few minority in the land.”

Benue Rebirth Initiative said it had carefully analyzed the various arguments canvassed in favour of Akume, who is a former Governor of the state and present minority leader of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, expressing confidence that Akume perfectly fitted into the various arguments centred on religion, legislative experience, strength of character, goodwill, masses oriented ideology.

“This rare gesture particularly from his party men and women at the All Progressive Congress is a pointer to the fact that Benue’s position in our democratic experience cannot be over emphasized at this point in time.”

Credit: CAJ News

Senate Presidency: I’ve No Preferred Candidate, Says Buhari

The President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, has said that he has no preferred candidate for the post of senate presidency.

Buhari’s position was contained in a statement signed by the Director of Media and Publicity, APC Presidential Campaign Council, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Wednesday,

Buhari said he was prepared to work with any leader freely chosen by members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The statement quoted Buhari as saying, “I am prepared to work with the leaders that the House or Senate selects. It doesn’t matter who the persons are or where they are from.

“There is due process for the selection of leaders of the National Assembly and I will not interfere in that process.”

According to the statement, insinuations that Buhari was supporting a particular candidate were probably borne out of people’s expectations based on the way things happened in the past.

Buhari reminded Nigerians that change has truly come.

The President-elect also assured Nigerians that a new dispensation has come, adding that, “My administration does not intend to repeat the same mistakes made by previous governments.”

Indications emerged on Wednesday that the Peoples Democratic Party is divided over the candidate to support among three All Progressives senators contesting the senate presidency.

Investigations on Wednesday in Abuja showed that contrary to reports that the PDP senators were supporting Senator Ahmad Lawan, some members of the party were backing another candidate, Senator Bukola Saraki.

Besides Saraki (North-Central) and Lawan (North-East); Senator George Akume (Benue) is also contesting the senate presidency.

The APC has yet to zone the position and others including the speakership of the House of Representatives.

But it was gathered that some members of the APC caucus in the North-West, which was earlier reported to have endorsed Lawan, had started supporting Saraki.

In the PDP, among those supporting Lawan were loyalists of the Senate President, Senator David Mark, who had been tipped to be the rallying point of the party’s opposition against the APC.

But a crack seemed to have appeared in the PDP as some of the party’s senators-elect attended a meeting of those supporting Saraki at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja on Tuesday night.

The PDP senators-elect that attended the meeting included Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom; Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State and a former Ebonyi State Governor, Dr. Sam Egwu.

A source at the meeting, who pleaded anonymity, said that some PDP senators-elect were backing Saraki because it appeared the APC leaders were in support of Lawan.

The source stated, “For now, the PDP has not endorsed any candidate but some of us are in support of Saraki because the APC leaders appear to be supporting Lawan.”

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South-West Senators Tackle Tinubu Over Senate Presidency

The All Progressives Congress (APC) senators-elect from the South-West have joined forces with their Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterparts from the region to frustrate Bola Tinubu’s candidate for the Senate Presidency.

The senators have vowed to resist Tinubu’s attempt to impose a candidate on them without their inputs. The senators denied that there is is consensus among them to support Tinubu’s candidate. Tinubu is championing the candidature of Ahmed Lawan from Yobe state.

Read More: NigerianPilot

Senate Presidency: 65 Senators Support Saraki, Group Headed By Dino Melaye

As federal lawmakers wait for the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to zone political positions in the National Assembly, a group known as The Like Minds has emerged with backing to the aspirations of senators Bukola Saraki and Ali Ndume.

The Like Minds claims to have 65 Senators on its list. The group is reportedly headed by former member of the House of Representatives and Senator-elect from Kogi State, Dino Melaye.

The group claims its membership cuts across all the six geo-political zones, including 27 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senators.

The group claimed it was working to ensure that no external influence or external political godfather hijacked the Senate leadership.

A source privy to the group disclosed that despite the alleged endorsement of a particular aspirant and his alleged sponsorship by the leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the numerical number of The Like Minds group continues to increase on daily basis.

The source further said the North East, which was said to have endorsed the candidature of Senator Ahmad Lawan has 15 Senators in The Like Minds camp and nine Senators out of 21 from the North West.

He also said 11 APC Senators out of 18 from the North Central had identified with The Like Minds, while 11 out of 18 from the South West had also given their backing to the Saraki/Ali Ndume camp.

He, however, said it was “the belief of The Like Minds that the decision on which zone produces the Senate President will be taken by the national leadership of the APC and that the group will only act in accordance with the decision of the party.”

Another source, who declined to be named also said that whoever emerged as the Senate President must be the consensus candidate of the Senators.

“We want to make sure that it is only Senators that will decide who will be the Senate President and not an external body.

“We are committed to serving the country and giving the best for the overall interest of the generality of the people,” he added.


APC Senators May Dump Zoning Of Senate Presidency

Senators elected under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) may dump the zoning arrangement of the party in the selection of the next Senate President.

The senators have vowed to go against the party’s wish if the zoning arrangement will not guarantee fairness and justice.

Senator Ahmad Sani, Senate Deputy Minority Leader, who spoke on behalf of some senators, stated that if the party does not zone the seat correctly, the senators may defy it and vote the right candidate.

He stated that the senators have the right to vote for the best candidate that they think will lead them more properly and more efficiently.

He noted that National Assembly was now made up of more independent minded individuals who hold national interests above that of the party.

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Senate Presidency: Tinubu Dumps Akume

There are strong indications that the former Lagos State governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinibu may have withdrawn his support for George Akume to become the new Senate President. Tinubu’s decision to dump Akume follows pressure from the Senators that he should allow them elect their own Senate President. The Senators had reportedly told Tinubu that any attempt to impose Akume on them will be rejected.

The decision it was learnt did not go down well with Tinubu considering the fact that he was also pushing for the House of Representatives Minority leader, Femi Gbajabiamila from the South West for the Speakership position.

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Senate Presidency: PDP Plots Against APC

As the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senators await the leadership of the party on the zoning of positions, especially the principal officers of the National Assembly, there are indications that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is plotting to snatch the Senate President from the party.

The APC has about 60 Senators elected on its platform in the March 28 National Assembly election, while the PDP that  before now had the majority, only has 49 senators elected in the election.

Investigations revealed that as the North East and North Central zones are lobbying for the Senate presidency, the PDP, is putting its house in order to come out with a candidate anticipating that the APC might not agree on a sole candidate.

Read More: vanguardngr

North Central Scrambles For Senate Presidency Slot

As the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, plans to meet to take final decision on the zoning of the offices to the six geo-political zones, the North Central caucus of the party yesterday met in Abuja and asked the party to zone the position of the senate presidency to the zone.

The APC caucus in the North Central in a communique signed by the zonal chairman chairman of the party, Mr. Zakari Ede, and the six states chairmen in region, said it was clear that APC will form the majority in the forthcoming 8th Assembly based on the results of the general elections.

The group which demanded for the position of senate president to be zoned to their area noted that in due course the “Senate President will be chosen from one of our Distinguished Senators.”

Their demand as they stated was hinged on the fact that the zone performed well in the election by giving adequate support to the party, adding that ceding the seat of senate president to will will be a reward for their performance.

Insisting that the North Central being a vulnerable zone, its success and victory should not be taken for granted, they said that it would only be just and equitable for the position of the Senate President to be allotted to the North Central.

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