By Temidayo Akinsuyi
Lagos – The statement made by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) declaring Senator Ahmad Lawan as the next President of the Senate is the major cause of crisis in the race for the leadership of the National Assembly, Daily Independent has gathered.
Sources in the National Assembly told our correspondent that before Oshiomhole’s declaration, Lawan was already running almost unopposed, though some ranking senators in the APC were interested in the position.
Speaking further, our source said while the APC lawmakers had an axe to grind with Oshiomhole for attempting to impose his will on them without consultation, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators are determined to prove to him that “they can still upturn the plans of the APC despite being in the minority”.
The source said: “Before now, Lawan was having a smooth ride until Oshiomhole publicly declared that the party has chosen him as the Senate President and that the decision is final.
“This infuriated a lot of APC senators who felt that while the party can zone to a particular region, it has no power to determine the candidate without consultation with the lawmakers, especially others who are interested in the position.
“That is why Senators Danjuma Goje and Ali Ndume are hell-bent on contesting despite series of interventions by key stakeholders in the presidency and even party leaders like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“They felt Oshiomhole’s dictatorial attitudes cannot be allowed to stand since they are an independent arm of government.”
It would be recalled that the APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Isa-Onilu, at a press conference at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja few days ago, had said the decision on Lawan was final and binding on the senators.
He said: “We have decided who will be the next Senate President, according to what democratic principles allow, and that person is Senator Ahmed Lawan.
“That has been done and announced, it is left for the party to cross the ‘t’s and dot the ‘i’s to get that sorted out,” Isa-Onilu had said.
Reacting to the statement by APC, Ali Ndume, one of the top contenders representing Borno South, had said: “Let me say that the decision by the party to settle for an individual instead of zoning the position to a particular geo-political zone, and consult or allow the senators from that zone to decide who among them they prefer as Senate President, is a surprise.
“We were surprised on Monday when the 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.”
Also speaking, a member of the PDP’s national working committee (NWC) said that senators elected on the platform of the PDP would prove to Oshiomhole that they were not pushovers and would have a major say in who becomes the number three man in the next dispensation.
“I think senators elected under our party are keeping their fingers crossed for now, but when the time comes, they will prove to Oshiomhole that they are not pushovers or minors in the determination of the leadership positions, especially the Senate Presidency and Speaker of the House.”