72-year-old Senator Abdullahi Adamu of Nasarawa State, has now emerged favorite for the position of Senate President of Nigeria when the 9th National Assembly convenes to elect its principal and presiding officers, Pulse can report.
Are APC senators abandoning Ahmad Lawan for Abdullahi Adamu in the race for Senate Presidency?
Sen Abdullahi Adamu is enjoying the support of APC and PDP senators behind the scenes, as the race for the senate presidency gathers pace.
At the last count, the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) will control 65 seats in the next senate, with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) controlling 37 seats and the Young Progressives Party (YPP) maintaining a solitary seat in the 9th senate. Four parliamentary seats are yet to be decided at the time of filing this.
The political party with majority seats in the red chamber often produces the senate president.
In March of 2019, the APC hierarchy and its Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, made it clear that the governing party has settled for Senator Ahmad Lawan, 60, (Yobe North) to lead the senate after incumbent Senate President Bukola Saraki exits the office, following his re-election woes in February.
The Adamu factor
However, top ranking APC senators-elect have told Pulse on condition of anonymity and in separate chats, that they would rather go with Adamu to lead them, than settle for the handpicked choice of party godfathers
“Some of us have decided not to go with our party’s choice”, one senator disclosed to Pulse. “As a matter of fact, no one should think he has won the election to lead the senate until the day we all converge on the floor of the senate to elect one from amongst us. We are for independence of the legislature”, he added.
A couple of APC senators-elect and their aides spoken to for this story, also point to the Bola Tinubu factor hovering over Sen Lawan as a turn off of some sort.
“Bourdillon (Tinubu’s Lagos address) won’t decide our next senate president or presiding officers. We won’t allow that”, one senator blurted in apparent exasperation.
APC godfather and former Lagos Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is said to be favorably disposed to the choice of Lawan as senate president.
APC sources disclose that Oshiomhole and Tinubu are on the same page on the choice of Lawan.
Lawan’s closeness to Tinubu, national assembly sources relayed, is proving detrimental to his chances.
The 2015 revolt remembered
In 2015, a section of APC senators joined forces with senators on the PDP side of the aisle to elect Saraki senate president, even though the governing party and Tinubu had settled for Lawan. Pundits say a similar scenario could well play out in 2019.
Saraki would go on to torment Tinubu and the APC until his defection to the opposition PDP on July 31, 2018. He continues to trade bitter words with Tinubu in the media.
Pulse has learnt that APC senators-elect would rather they be allowed to produce their presiding officers than have one shoved down their throats by "overbearing godfathers".
PDP senators-elect are also favorably disposed to thwarting Lawan’s chances of getting anywhere near the throne and hauling their votes behind Adamu instead, just to spite the APC and Tinubu, Pulse was told.
Apart from Adamu and Lawan, Senators Ali Ndume and Danjuma Goje have also indicated their intentions to vie for the position of the Number 3 man in Nigeria’s power hierarchy, but the APC has told them all to back off.
During a press briefing on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, APC spokesperson, Lanre Issa–Onilu asked other contenders for the position to respect the supremacy of the party.
“In reference to Senator Ali Ndume who has come out to say he wants to contest, he’s merely expressing his fundamental rights. But those rights are also taken care of the day you have subscribed to a particular political party, in this case, APC.
“Members of the APC are allowed to ventilate whatever their views are, because that is democracy. So, whatever decision we take at the end of the day, would be after you have been given ample opportunity to exercise your right. But at the end of the day, party supremacy sets in”, Issa-Onilu declared.
The APC controls majority seats in both chambers of Nigeria's 469-member national assembly.
Senators Lawan and Adamu did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
The 9th senate is likely to be inaugurated on June 9, 2019.
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