Senate Presidency: North East Senators Denies Picking Ahmed Lawan
The campaign for the position of Senate President in the forthcoming 8th National Assembly took a dramatic turn yesterday with 12 senators- elect from the Northeast geo- political zone stating emphatically that nobody from the zone has been picked for the exalted office.
They spoke in apparent reaction to the news that APC senators-elect from both the Northwest and Southwest geo- political zones have endorsed Dr Ahmed Lawan from Yobe North in the Northeast zone for the number three position.
Leader of the Northeast All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators’ Caucus, Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central), who briefed reporters in Abuja insisted that the group had not picked any candidate for the position yet since it has not been formally zoned to the area by the national leadership of the party.
Members of the caucus at the press conference included: The Chairman, Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central), Secretary, Isa Ahmed Gusau (Bauchi Central), Ali Ndume (Borno South), Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe Central) and Abdulaziz Murtala Nyako (Adamawa Central)
Others are Senators-elect Binta Garba Marshi (Adamawa North), Ahmed Abubakar (Adamawa South), Usman Bayero Nafada (Gombe North), Abubakar Jare (Borno North) and Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi North).
Senator Ahmad Zannah (Borno Central) was said to be indisposed.
Goje, who spoke on behalf of the caucus, said no zone would be allowed to impose any candidate on them.
According to Goje, the caucus is still pleading with the leadership of the APC to officially zone the position to the zone in view of their “peculiar circumstances.”
The former Governor of Gombe State explained that whoever emerges as consensus candidate after the position has been zoned to the area will be decided by lawmakers from the zone.
It could be recalled that the Northwest Senate Caucus of the APC had on Thursday reportedly endorsed the candidature of Senator Lawan for the position of Senate President.
The Northwest boasts of 21 Senators out of the 109-member Senate.
Of the 21 Senators from the zone, 17 were said to have expressly adopted Lawan for the number one seat in the Senate.
But Goje stated that the Northeast Senators’ Caucus meeting which held at the Kaduna Room of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel on Thursday night resolved to be allowed in consultation with the party’s leadership to nominate their preferred candidate for the position.
He noted that Senator Lawan attended the meeting.
Goje said: “That I, Senator Mohammed Danjuma Goje from Gombe Central, was unanimously elected as the leader of the caucus and Senator Isa Ahmed Gusau as the secretary of the caucus.
“That while the party leadership is considering the zoning of the National Assembly leadership positions, the caucus is appealing for the zoning of highest position in the National Assembly to the Northeast considering the special needs of this zone.
“In other words, we resolved to call on the leadership of our party to formally zone the highest office of the National Assembly to our zone in view of our special circumstance.
“That this caucus should be allowed in consultation with the party leadership, other caucuses, zonal leaders and other stakeholders to nominate the Senator suitable to occupy such an office which is zoned to our zone.
“For this reason, the caucus urges the public and distinguished colleagues nationwide and indeed, everybody, Nigerians and non-Nigerians to completely disregard any purported endorsement of any Senator from the Northeast by any zone because zoning of posts by the APC has not been formally done yet.
“We are waiting for the formal zoning of the various posts in the National Assembly before we commence nomination and we believe that any post zoned to us must have our input as the caucus and then, we consult with other caucuses, party leadership and indeed, other stakeholders before arriving at a decision.
“We should completely disregard any endorsement of any of our members here or absent. We do not know anything about it; we do not support it; we disassociate ourselves completely from it.”
Goje added: “What we are saying is that we, the Northeast caucus, formally disassociate ourselves from any endorsement from any other zone.
“Other zones have the right to decide what they want, but we in the Northeast are not associating ourselves with those so-called endorsements because the party has not zoned anything to us.
“It is after the zoning has been announced that we will sit down and nominate our candidates that we feel are capable and suitable to represent the zone.
“But we cannot stop others from doing what they want. All we are saying is that we are not part of it.
“We have nobody in mind yet. We have not decided anything because we do not know what is coming to us. We do not want to jump the gun.
“Therefore, in the light of the above resolutions, we call on all Nigerians to completely disregard any purported endorsement of any Senator from the Northeast by any zone for the position because any post zoned to us must have our input.
“We don’t know anything about any endorsement of anybody from the Northeast being touted around through the pages of newspapers.
A Senator-elect from Adamawa State, who was at the briefing, told reporters off-camera about what transpired during the Senators’ meeting at Transcorp Hotel.
The Senator explained that the grouse of the lawmakers against Lawan’s purported endorsements by North West and South West Senate caucuses, stemmed from the way Lawan himself tried to outsmart them at the meeting.
According to the Senator, Lawan “sneaked” out of the meeting while the resolutions were being debated only for them to hear that Lawan was endorsed for the post of Senate President by the North West and South West caucuses a few minutes later.
The Senator said: “This, to us, the remaining 12 APC Senators-elect from the zone, is fraudulent and unacceptable. “