The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday recommended the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe) for the position of Senate President in the ninth Assembly.
The recommendation was made during a meeting last night at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
In attendance were President Muhammadu Buhari, 11 governors, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and senators-elect, of the ruling party.
Multiple sources at the meeting that lasted for about two hours, said Oshiomhole announced the recommendation in the presence of the three other contenders for the Senate Presidency namely Senator Ali Ndume (Borno), Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe) and Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa).
Senator Bello Mandiya (APC Katsina) last night confirmed that the party had recommended Senator Lawan.
Sources told newsmen that ranking senators have started lobbying for important positions in the Senate.
Senator Goje is said to be working to retain his position as chairman appropriation committee while Sen. Abdullahi Adamu is being considered to succeed Lawan as the Senate leader.
One of the Senators-elect who did not want to be mentioned also confirmed the story.
He said: “We were all shocked when he (Oshiomhole) told us that Lawan is the next Senate President. He did not allow us to speak before they directed that the National Anthem be recited,” he said.
Another lawmaker-elect, said when Oshiomhole mentioned Lawan as the next Senate President, president Buhari said he was in support of the party’s position.
Lawan, a ranking lawmaker was the preferred candidate of the APC in 2015, but Senator Bukola Saraki, with the massive support of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers, dribbled the party, to clinch the position.
There has been intense politicking between Senators-elect from North East and North Central geo-political zones over the Senate presidency position. The ninth assembly is expected to be inaugurated in June, this year.
The governors in attendance were those of Kebbi, Zamfara, Plateau, Jigawa, Kaduna, Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Borno, Yobe and Kogi states. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha was also in attendance.
Also in attendance, was the Anambra South Senator-elect, Ifeanyi Ubah, who is of the Young Peoples Party (YPP).
Around 9:pm, after Oshiomhole delivered his speech, journalists were excused from the venue of the meeting. The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, asked the journalists to leave, saying “It’s time for family talk”.
Oshiomhole said the meeting was convened to map out strategy on how to come up with the leadership of the ninth Assembly. He said the APC so far has 65 senators-elect and 223 Reps-elect.
With majority at the both chambers, he said APC will produce all the presiding officers, the Senate president, deputy Senate president, Speaker and the deputy speaker.
He said unlike in the present parliament, the APC will produce chairmen of strategic committees in the ninth Assembly.
Oshiomhole said the APC lawmakers-elect were voted to give President Buhari the needed support for him to take radical reform for the development of the country.
“Nigerians voted for us to take charge of the executive and the legislature. This meeting is to discuss the leadership question in a win, win way. We do not need to do business with the opposition when we have the numbers,” he said.
Oshiomhole said out of the 16 senators who dumped the APC, only one, Dino Melaye was reelected, because “the chamber will be boring without an entertainer”.
He described Uba, the YPP Senator-elect who attended the meeting, “as a smart guy who want to belong to the people’s party.”
The meeting, our correspondent reports ended around 9:30pm.