Senate Leadership: Ndume Defeats Lawan In Mock Poll, As APC Senators Defy Party Nominees
As the All Progressives Congress (APC), continues its battle over who take the principal offices in the National Assembly following the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara, the party yesterday ran into a stalemate over who fill the various positions available.
APC, being the party with majority senators in the Red Chamber, is expected to produce Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip while the opposition PDP on the other hand, would produce Minority Leader, Deputy Minority Leader, Minority Whip and Deputy Minority Whip.
But efforts to amicably reach a consensus seem to be creating more troubles for the party.
At a mock poll conducted yesterday among senators from the North East zone in the APC, Senator Ali Ndume defeated Senator Ahmad Lawan.
Senator Ndume, representing Borno South, led Lawan, APC, Yobe North, with nine votes to two.
However, the poll was quickly dismissed by Lawan who said he was not part of it as he had no knowledge of the purported exercise.
Lawan, dissociated himself from the election conducted by the North-East caucus, stressing that he would align himself with the position of the party.
He said: “I am not aware of any election. The party had spoken, it is now left for the Senate President to make the announcement.”
The strong insistence by Senators Lawan and George Akume, who were not at the mock poll, not to recognise the outcome of the exercise and subsequent protest by his supporters against it, as well as reported personal phone call to Saraki by Senator Mark to handle the situation with caution, forced Senator Saraki, to immediately convene another meeting of APC senators.
At the end of marathon meetings, party members from the North-East caucus of the party insisted on pushing forward their choice of Senator Ndume over the party’s preferred Senator Lawan as Senate Leader, which was zoned to the North-East.
The insistence of APC North-East senators was despite efforts, including an intervention by the immediate past President of the Senate, David Mark, to break the logjam in the ruling party, which had seen senators aligned to Senate President Bukola Saraki reject the party’s list of candidates for the four principal offices on offer to the party.
A list of the names of four senators chosen by the party, which had been with the Senate President, would have been announced alongside that of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, senators today, but for the last minute rejection of Lawan by APC North-East caucus.
Also at the mock election earlier, Senator representing Osun Central Senatorial District, Professor Olusola Adeyeye, was unanimously endorsed by the South-West caucus of APC in the Red Chamber as the Chief Whip of the eighth Senate.
The need to have a senator from the South-South geopolitical zone among the principal officers had also led to the emergence of the Senator representing Edo North, Francis Alimikhena, as the Deputy Whip, during the mock poll.
His emergence was against the view of APC national leadership, which had initially nominated the senator representing Katsina South, Abu Ibrahim, as Deputy whip.
It was gathered that it was resolved at an enlarged meeting with the governors, Monday night, that the only senator from the South-South should have the position.
Abu Ibrahim’s emergence as Deputy Whip would have automatically disenfranchised the South-South geo-political zone from having a representative in the senate leadership.
Adeyeye’s name was on the list of principal officers approved by APC leadership as contained in a letter addressed to the Senate President and signed by the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Tuesday.
Also, the party’s choice for the post of Deputy Senate Leader, Senator George Akume, was said to have been rejected by the North-Central caucus of the party, who claimed that since one of them had emerged as the Senate President, it would be fair and just to allow another zone take up the position.
Consequently, the North-West caucus also met, yesterday, and endorsed the candidature of Senator Ahmed Sani-Yerima, APC, Zamfara West, as the Deputy Leader.