The last may not have been heard about the endorsement of Senator Ahmed Lawan for Senate President by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Spokesman for the “Ahmed Lawan for Senate President Group of Senators, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, told reporters in Abuja yesterday that APC senators-elect were carried along in the adoption of Lawan for the position.
Abdullahi’s explanation contradicted that of Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, who claimed that the announcement of the adoption of Lawan by the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, came to senators-elect as a shock.
The party chair announced the party’s position on Monday at a dinner attended by the APC senators-elect with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House.
Although Abdullahi did not mention Ndume, he was categorical that “it is not good for somebody to peddle lies.”
He added that when Oshiomhole announced the adoption of Lawan as the party’s choice for the Senate President of the Ninth Senate, the party chairman spoke in the presence of some governors, including those of Oyo, Kebbi and Borno states.
Abdullahi, who doubles as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media & Public Affairs, quoted Oshiomhole to have appealed to them to support Lawan to avoid the mistake of the past.
“Immediately he said that, there was instantaneous and spontaneous applause by senators who were there. For somebody to say there was surprise and shock following the announcement, he was economical with the truth. There was no shock, rather there was relief,” Abdullahi said.
Abdullahi who said that the APC has learnt its lesson from the mistake of 2015 when Dr. Bukola Saraki became the Senate President against the directive of the party, assured that there would be no such crisis this time around.
According to him, there was no clear directive by the party in 2015, prompting senators to go their different ways in the chamber.
The APC, he said, has a great role to play in who becomes the Senate President.
He said: “If the party has promised Nigerians good governance, it is only fair and proper for the party to play some role to deliver that good governance. For me, we have learnt our lessons from whatever happened in 2015.
“Even when I’m walking on the street, people say please you people should make sure you learn from your past mistakes. As far as I’m concerned, we have unity of purpose.
“We the senators-elect, we have made a choice. We have the right to say this is who we want. Our choice is Ahmed Lawan. Do you expect that Mr. President and the party should abdicate their responsibility? This is what they accused us of in 2015. Now they have spoken, why are you complaining?”
He insisted that the announcement by Oshiomhole should have been enough for a genuine party loyalist to drop his ambition and toe party line.
Abdullahi said there was no doubt that Nigerians would be the best for the emergence of Lawan.
“It is not good for you to have bills that are not assented to,” he said.
He said that on the day of inauguration of the Ninth Senate in June, by the grace of God, Ahmed Lawan will be Senate President.
On alleged winner-take-all posture of the APC, he said that it does not necessarily mean that the party’s senators would take all positions in the Senate.
The position of the party chairman on the issue, he said, was that the majority would have its way while the minority will have its say but the two must co-exist
Abdullahi, who said they had been engaging the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators-elect, noted that contrary to insinuation, the PDP senators-elect were not interested in any fight.
On the slot of Deputy Senate President, he noted that the party has the responsibility to zone positions.
Abdullahi said: “One thing I know and which is certain is that the party has zoned the Senate President to the Northeast. As for Deputy Senate President, I don’t know; the party will decide. When the party decides, there will be no dissent. If you dissent, it will be like a fly that wants to follow the corpse to the grave.
“I won’t come here and start boasting about number but I want to tell you that on that very day. The party is responsible for zoning and the senate presidency has been zoned to the Northeast.
“I don’t have the idea on what the party is doing on the position of deputy senate presidency. The party will ensure that a senator from each of the geopolitical zone benefit from the leadership positions, that is, two presiding officers and the four principal officers.
“Let me tell you very clearly that we have been engaging our colleagues in the PDP and I will tell you that majority of them are actually working for us to see that we have a harmonious, rancour-free and non-tumultuous senate.
“They are right by doing so because they are mandated by their people to come and represent them and to take dividend of democracy home not to take victories of fight on the floor home.
“Fighting on the floor of the Senate cannot translate to dividends of democracy because the people want to see the roads infrastructure, health facilities and schools that you are able to attract to their constituency.
“The government that we are going to form is that of the APC and the chief executive will be running the policy of the party. A parliamentarian want his people to benefit from the dividend of democracy have to work with those who are in government.
“Our colleagues in the PDP are not interested in any fight. We are engaging them and we are talking. They know the truth and I know that we shall work together and succeed together.”