Senator Ali Ndume has bitterly lamented what he called the undemocratic imposition of Mr. Ahmad Lawan as the next senate president by the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, saying that decision had shocked him and his colleagues ln the Red Chamber.
Mr. Ndume said this in a chat with the Punch, recalling how former senate presidents, who were imposed by the ruling party, had failed to survive.
He claimed that the decision to make Lawan the next senae president was solely that of Mr. Oshiomhole because he had consulted and gotten the nods of President Muhammadu Buhari and APC leader, Bola Tinubu over his intention to vie for the position.
He said, “It was Adams Oshiomhole that said that Ahmad Lawan should be our next Senate President.
“I don’t believe that, that is truly the position of Mr. President because, before I went into this contest, I consulted with Mr. President and he gave me the go-ahead.
“I consulted with Tinubu and he also gave me the go-ahead immediately after the primaries.”
He added that the decision by the party to settle for an individual instead of zoning the position of Senate President to a particular geopolitical zone, and also failing to consult senators from that zone to decide who among them they want or they prefer as the candidate for the Senate President and who will ultimately lead to election on the floor of the Senate, came to him as a surprise.
“The National Chairman of our party just informed us that a decision has been taken to nominate Ahmad Lawan as the candidate of the North-East for the position of the Senate President. I am surprised and shocked, and I believe that the feelings of my colleagues right now are still that of shock,” a disappointed Ndume said.
According to him, “The normal tradition or the constitutional provision for the emergence of the leadership of the Senate or National Assembly is clearly spelt out in the constitution.
“Section 50 (1A) of the constitution says that there shall be the Senate President and Deputy Senate President who shall be elected by the members of the House amongst themselves and Section 1 of the constitution clearly states that this constitution is binding on all Nigerians and government agencies and it also went further to state that any other law that contradicts the provisions of the constitution is null and void.
“To that extent and as a party that is supposed to be democratic and as a government that normally insists on allowing due process to prevail, it should have engaged the critical stakeholders before taking such decision because that is how candidates of the APC in all elections, normally emerge. It is either by consensus, indirect or direct primaries.”
The former Senate leader however hinted that he has not given up on his ambition of becoming Nigeria’s next senate president.
“I am going home (Borno State) right away to consult with the elders who gathered to and encouraged me to vie for the position.
“So, I will engage in consultations before I take the final position; But, I want to say that the party has taken a position and I ultimately await the decision of the Almighty God and that of my colleagues,” he said.
When specifically asked if he will still contest for the post of senate president on the day of inauguration, he said, “If this is God’s decision, it will last, if it is not, God will take his own decision.
“I have a vision for the Senate because the Senate has drifted and is drifting to a position where it will not be able to serve its purpose. The Senate is supposed to be an institution of 109 senators to fashion out ways of stabilising the polity.
“It is not fair for somebody to appoint a leader for leaders. The leaders are supposed to appoint who should be their leader. The Senate President is supposed to be the President of the Senate not senators president.
“Now, we are again getting a senators president but this country needs a Senate President. Senators from the North-East are supposed to be given the honour of choosing from among us, or at best, the party should have invited some of us who are contesting and tell us to drop our ambition and support the party’s choice but I was not given that honour.
“Since Lawan has indicated his interest, I indicated my interest, Danjuma Goje indicated his interest, Abdullahi Adamu also indicated his interest, all of us deserve the honour to be invited for a meeting, but that was not done.