Except Nigeria’s ruling party puts its house all together, it risks committing a similar error it made in 2015 when Bukola Saraki rose Senate President against the wish of the party.
Hours after the APC leadership at a gathering with President Muhammadu Buhari and Senator-elect declared the endorsement of Ahmed Lawan to be the next Senate president, Ali Ndume has pledged to battle on.
Mr Ndume, a Borno State representative, expressed disappointment over the choice of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to underwrite lawmakers for leaderships positions in the ninth assembly.
The lawmaker said the underwriting of Mr Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila for places of Senate President and Speaker House of Representatives may have started off an emergency of trust in the ruling party.
Mr Ndume, a ranking senator, on Monday wrote the chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomole, to proclaim his expectation to keep running for Senate President.
Same Monday, the party was reported to have endorsed Mr Lawan for this position at a meeting held at the Presidential Villa.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, Mr Ndume described the endorsement APC handed to Mr Lawan as unconstitutional and against the spirit of fair play.
His reaction was reported by The Nation.
He said the position of the party on who emerges the Senate President cannot stand as it did not follow due process adding that he consulted widely and was given the go-ahead by party leaders to vie for the position.
For him, the best the party could have done was to zone the slot of Senate President to a geo-political zone and allow the zone to choose their candidate
“First of all, let me say that the decision by the party to settle for an individual instead of zoning the position to a particular geopolitical zone and also consulting or allowing the senators from that zone to decide who among them they prefer as Senate President, is a surprise.
“We were surprised on Monday when national chairman of our party told us a decision had been taken to adopt Ahmad Lawan as candidate from the North-east for the position of the President of the Senate.
“The reason why I am shocked and I am sure that is the feeling of my colleagues, is that the constitutional provision for the emergence of the leadership of the Senate is clearly spelt out.
“Section 51 (a) of the Constitution says that “there shall be a Senate President and Deputy Senate President who shall be elected by members of the House.
“Section 1 of the Constitution clearly states that “this Constitution is binding on all Nigerians and government agencies.
“It went further to say that any other law that contravenes the provision of the Constitution is null and void.”
Ndume takes swipe at APC
Mr Ndume also tackled the APC on its decision, questioning the democratic credentials of its leaders.
“As a party that is supposed to be democratic and as a government that insists on allowing due process to prevail, this is strange. A candidate of APC normally emerges by one of three means, namely- consensus, indirect elections and direct primaries,” he said.
“As I said, such a decision was taken and we were not given the chance to ask questions. We were not allowed to make comments.
“The President made his remarks and after that, the national anthem was recited.
“Even the chosen candidate was not given the chance to thank us or say something about it. Those of us that have indicated interests were not consulted or given the chance to make any comments.
“I left there with that shock but I slept well notwithstanding. I am one among equal. I am just one among 109 senators. I am not better than them, except for Lawan. I came back and slept well.
“My wife and children were worried about my feelings. I was even late for the prayers in the morning.
“I try my best in everything I do and I leave the rest to God. I am now leaving this to God and those who elected me. I am going home to consult with elders who gathered themselves and asked me to contest. I will consult with them and then take a final decision.
“The party has taken a decision. I ultimately wait on the decision of Almighty God and my colleagues. That is what I will say for now.”
Asked to explain what he meant by waiting for his colleagues to decide his fate, he said:
Source: premium Times