The battle for the top job in the Senate and other position in the National Assembly rages on as various forces strategise on how to achieve victory.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is sure a force to reckon with but has not thrown its weight behind any contender openly. It is believed that the party is still plotting what to do.
Meanwhile, the adopted candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the Ninth Senate Presidency, Senator Ahmad Lawan has revealed part of his plan.
According to The The Punch, Lawan on Wednesday pledged to carry members of the opposition along in the running of his office if elected on the day of inauguration. Lawan’s latest position is contrary to the recent declaration of the Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, who said that members of the opposition would not be made chairmen of committees because his party would constitute most of the juicy panels of the Ninth Senate.
Also, President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Leader of the APC are strongly behind Lawan’s candidacy and the party’s decision as made known by Oshiomhole.
But the spokesperson for the Ahmad Lawan Campaign team, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, at a news conference in Abuja, urged senators-elect on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party to ignore such threat. He said Lawan who was a member of the opposition for many years in the federal parliament, appreciated the feelings of members of the minority party and would do nothing to hurt them. He also pledged that Lawan would treat each of the 109 senators as a representative of each of their senatorial districts with respect.
Abdullahi said, “Senator Ahmad Lawan is leaving no stone unturned in talking to his colleagues across party lines. Let me say very clearly that the nature of parliament is such that you cannot shut anybody out. It is not possible. I want Nigerians to look at those of us who are the actors and take note of what we say. That is the most important thing. I want to submit and assure Nigerians that by the special grace of God, if Senator Ahmad Lawan gets there, he will run an all-inclusive government because the Senate is the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“The 109 senators are individual senators representing the various senatorial districts in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They have inalienable rights to be heard and listened to for government to work for them no matter our differences and no matter the sentiments that we share. When we took our oath of office, we pledged not to allow personal interest to override the public interest. Let me say very clearly that our aspiration is to have the Senate that works for Nigeria.
“I know that given the track record of Senator Lawan in his 16 years of being in the National Assembly, he understands the feelings of the opposition because he was one of them before and he will not abuse that privilege. The notion from the PDP side that they would be excluded should be withdrawn forthwith. What we are planning to do is to have a Senate that will be for all senators.”
Abdullahi said many opposition senators, who hitherto held the notion that Lawan would shut them out of his government, had pledged their support and promised to vote for him on the day of inauguration. He said, “I can confirm to you that on the day of inauguration, Senator Ahmad Lawan will garner more than two-thirds of the votes from no less than 73 members-elect from both the APC and the PDP.
“We are talking to our colleagues; we are working on the people who will vote on the floor of the Senate on the day of inauguration. By the grace of God, so far so good. We are very much convinced, based on the reception that is being accorded our campaigns, we have been able to reach a lot of our colleagues except those who are outside the country.”
Nigerians are looking at how the ruling party will achieve its target of winning the top posts in the National Assembly irrespective of any likely opposition to its decision from within or outside the party.