Senate Presidency: 37 APC Senators-elect Endorse Lawan/Akume Ticket
Thirty–seven senators-elect out of the 59 elected on the All Progressives Congress
(APC) platform are backing Senators Ahmed Lawan and George Akume for Senate President and Deputy Senate President.
The senators under the auspices of the Unity Forum drawn from four-geopolitical zones issued the statemenet on their stance yesterday.
It was signed by Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice, representing Southwest, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Northeast), Senator Barnabas Gemade (Northcentral) and Senator Abu Ibrahim (Northwest).
The senators said they decided to build consensus around the candidature of Lawan/Akume to make things easy for the party and putting the interest of Nigeria first.
The members of the forum said efforts were still being made to convince other senators-elect to support the Lawan/Akume consensus candidates.
They insisted that the alliance of Senators Lawan and Akume with other members offered the APC the best window of opportunity to resolve the issue of the Senate presidency and take the Senate to the next level from the legacy left by the 7th Senate.
The forum said: “Given the conflicting media accounts surrounding the issue of the prospective candidate for the Senate presidency from the APC, we of the Unity Forum are constrained to make this clarification.
“This response has become necessary because we do not want to portray our party as a collection of desperate, indiscipline and selfish people.
“Rather, we believe that party preservation and the overall interest of the party should be paramount at this point.
“For the records, there was no time before the retreat, during the retreat or after the retreat where and when the issue of a primary election to pick the Senate President was tabled or agreed upon.
“Nowhere in the party leadership structure can we find the mandate for the conduct of any election with regard to the emergence of the Senate Presidential candidate.
“Any contrary information, out there in the social or any kind of media is false, self-serving and intended to mislead the public.
“As far as we know, the National Chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun, gave the advice that we all meet in an effort to build a consensus among the different camps towards finding a harmonious solution.
“That was how far it went. There was no election that was called. It was now left for the APC members at the retreat to internally bond together to find a workable solution.
“To this end, different caucuses met from the entire geo-political zone to discuss the candidacy of those contending for the Senate Presidency.
“After the caucusing, the members of the Unity Forum comprising of senators from the Northeast, Northcentral, Northwest and Southwest reached a resolution to support the Senator Lawan Ahmad and Senator George Akume ticket for the Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively.
“This collaboration is encompassing and accommodating of all the tendencies within the party in the overall interest of the party and Nigeria.”
The senators added: “Presently, about 37 senators have agreed to the Lawan/Akume arrangement. We decided to disclose this to check the falsehood flying around.
“What we are trying to do is to make things easy for the party by putting the interest of Nigeria first.
“In the light of the above, we wish to state expressly that the effort to convince more senators to participate in the consensus building within our party is ongoing. We recognise the discretion of each senator to vote any candidate.”
The forum said while it could not blame anyone for personal ambition, such ambition “cannot be superior to the stability, credibility and cohesiveness of the National Assembly”.
But the statement said the “alliance forged by Senators Lawan and Akume alongside other members offers the APC the best window of opportunity to resolve the issue of the Senate presidency and take to a higher standard from the legacy left by the 7th Senate”.