There is anxiety within the ranks of the two major contenders to the 9th Senate Presidency, Senators Ahmad Lawan and Ali Ndume, over the unusual calmness of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators-elect and Senator Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe), New Telegraph has learnt
It was also learnt that the Thursday’s Supreme Court judgement, which voided all the votes cast for the APC in Zamfara State, while declaring the opposition PDP winner in virtually all the elective positions in the last general election, has sent jitters to the camp of Lawan and Ndume.
Senators, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said that the decision of the apex court, which now weakens the numerical strength of the ruling party in the National Assembly, has further put the camps of the two contenders in a more precarious situation.
On why the silence of the PDP senators-elect is a source of concern to Lawan and Ndume, one of the senators noted that Lawan’s camp in particular is worried because of the rumour that the opposition party is backing Goje, who has refused to make any public utterance to confirm whether or not he is contesting.
“Lawan’s camp is very apprehensive as a result of the silence maintained by the PDP senators. The camp is also worried that Goje has decided to keep everybody in the dark as to whether or not he is vying for the office of the Senate President.
“You know that if you have an enemy you are fighting and he makes some statements about his strategy and tactics, you know how to prepare and face him better. But in this case, there have been serious speculation that Goje is going to contest. We even heard that he was going to declare his interest publicly three weeks ago, but as we speak, he has not uttered a word publicly in that regard.
“So, to respond to your question, I am certain that there is a level of apprehension in the camp of Lawan. For Ndume, he may not be as worried as Lawan because Nigerians, particularly political analysts, don’t believe that he will be in the race to the end,” the source said.
However, another source hinted that Ndume was not joking over his publicly declared ambition to become the next President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, stressing that his camp was as concerned as the Lawan’s.
“The little I know about Senator Ndume is different from what people think. The Ndume I know is a dogged fighter. I can tell you that he is not joking, and he has been reaching out to his colleagues for support. So, he may spring surprises on the day of the election,” the source stated.
On how the Supreme Court judgement on Zamfara will affect the election of the leadership of the 9th Senate, sources close to the apex legislative chamber, told our correspondent that politics is a game of number, and that one number can make a lot of difference, particularly in an election where only a simple majority is required, such as the election of National Assembly leadership.
They are of the opinion that the appreciation of PDP’s numerical strength in both chambers of the National Assembly while the APC diminished would make a lot of impact in the election of the presiding officers of the apex parliament in the next two weeks.
One of them said: “You know that before the judgement of the Supreme Court on Zamfara last Thursday, the APC had 65 senators-elect while the PDP had 41. The Young Progressives Party (YPP) produced one senator. But now, after the judgement, APC went down by three, which the PDP gained and now has 44 members while the APC has 62.
“So, if the PDP is going to field a candidate for the Senate Presidency, they need to get only 11 members of the APC to have 55 out of 109 members of the Senate to secure victory. If APC has two candidates, it further makes it easier for the PDP.
“In case the PDP as a party decides to support Danjuma Goje as being insinuated, it means that Goje’s victory will be made easy because the rumour is that the PDP will give him block votes, in addition to his own APC supporters.
“So, with this scenario playing out, it is only natural that Ndume and Lawan will be jittery because politics is a game of number. And in a situation where only a simple majority is required for victory, one is definitely a great number,” the source said.