Senator Ali Ndume, on Tuesday finally declared his intention to challenge President Muhammadu and leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) including the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole over the position of the senate Presidency, unfolding his agenda as a candidate for the post in the ninth National Assembly.
Mr. Ndume unveiled a nine-point agenda if elected as the next Senate president on June 9, promising to improve upon the performance of the 8th Senate.
This is against the position of his party, APC, which had last week endorsed the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, as the next Senate president.
However, the former senate leader had bitterly complained about Lawan’s endorsement by the APC leadership.
A copy of his agenda document was made available to CHECKPOINTCHARLEY, in which the Borno-South senator promised to make the office of the Senate President less attractive by reducing the unnecessary privileges attached to it.
He also pledged to uphold the independence of the legislature but expressed his willingness to “work harmoniously and inter-dependently with the executive without undermining the principle of separation of powers.”
Mr. Ndume further promised to make “constituency projects more transparent, accountable, efficient and effective,” among other things.
“We will make laws that will block leakages devise improved means of generating revenue, especially through the amendment and review of our tax laws which will help to reduce reliance on local and foreign loans to finance budget.
“We will run the 9th Senate transparently, through open accountability with full participation of all senators .For example, we will transfer the approving powers of the privileges of the senators like foreign travels, allowances to Senate services committee or a new committee to be known as “ways and means committee,” he added.
Meanwhile, the APC is not amused over Ndume’s ambition.
Party spokesman, Lanre Isa-Onilu, has faulted Ndume, saying, “The ticket he (Ndume) is holding belongs to the APC and he cannot go and work with the opposition to give what belongs to the APC to the opposition, like it happened in 2015 when the position of the Deputy Senate President was given to the opposition by some desperate former members of the APC.
“Ndume will be wrong to be calling out the party’s national chairman. The national chairman spoke on behalf of the party. And when we talk of the party in this instance, it is not just about the NWC.
“The President (Muhammadu Buhari) was there when he said it. He did not say anything that the President was not aware of. He did not say anything that the leaders of the APC are not already part of.”
But the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, has welcomed Ndume’s declaration, noting however that his party had yet to take any decision on who to support.
He urged members of the Senate to follow their conscience in choosing who would lead them.
“Senator Ali Ndume and other members of the Senate who are qualified to run for the office of the President of the Senate should be allowed to test their popularity
“We believe in multiplicity of ideas. Democracy is having more than one option. Though consensus is part of democracy, when that is not achievable, every contestant or interested person must be allowed to test their popularity. That is the beauty of democracy.
“It is wrong to force lawmakers or coerce them to follow a particular road or a particular candidate who they do not have confidence in. The President and his party should not plant moles as the leaders of the National Assembly.”