9th Assembly: PDP caucus endorses Lawan for Senate President

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

Senator Ahmed Lawan

As the countdown to Tuesday’s inauguration of 9th National Assembly reaches the climax, Nigeria’s main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) senators-elect have endorsed Senator Ahmad Lawan, as President of the Senate.

Final decision by the opposition senators was reached on Sunday at a crucial meeting with members of the Senator Ahmad Lawan for Senate President Campaign Organisation, who are APC and Young Progressives Party, (YPP) senators-elect. The meeting held at the residence of Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu in Abuja.

Senator Lawan had earlier been endorsed by all, except two APC senators-elect, including a former Gombe State governor and leading contender to the 9th Senate Presidency, Senator Danjuma Goje who withdrew from the race some days ago, pledging to support Ahmed Lawan.

The two senators-elect that didn’t endorse Lawan are Senator Ali Ndume, who is also contesting for the position of number three citizen and Senator Ibrahim Mohammed Bomai, who represents Yobe South senatorial district.

Apart from Ekweremadu, other PDP senators-elect at the meeting include the outgoing deputy minority leader, Emmanuel Bwacha, Taraba South; Theodore Orji, Abia Central; Chukwuka Utazi, Enugu East; Enyinnaya Abaribe, Abia South;  Dino Melaye, Kogi West; James Manager, Delta South; Peter Nwaoboshi,  Delta North; Gershom Bassey, Cross River South and Uche Ekwunife, Anambra Central, among others.

From the side of APC senators-elect were the immediate past governor of Borno, Kashim Shettima, his counterpart from Yobe and Lawan’s kinsman, Ibrahim Geidam, and numerous others, including the chairman of Senator Ahmad Lawan for Senate President Campaign Organisation, Dr. Yahaya Abdullahi, Kebbi North and the secretary, Barau Jibrin, Kano North.

Open Endorsement
Senator Lawan had last week during a chat with journalists, expressed confidence that he’s going to get endorsement of the PDP senators-elect for his ambition to lead the 9th Senate.

According to him, “We are expecting PDP senators-elect to, all of them, have an understanding with us and endorse me as a caucus”, stressing that the earlier open endorsement by one of them, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi meant a feeling of patriotism and the necessity of the 9th Senate to work together in unity in order to improve the life of Nigerians.

The campaign organisation had on Saturday disclosed that out of the 62 APC senators-elect, 60 of them had endorsed Lawan by appending their signatures against their names in a list which was presented to the press at the briefing.

Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, YPP-Anambra Central, who has since declared his support for Lawan, swelled the number of senators supporting him to 61. And going by the latest development, it remains Lawan’s rival in the Senate Presidency race, Ndume and Bomai that are yet to support Lawan.

In a reaction to Senator Lawan’s endorsement by his colleagues in the APC, Senator Ndume said he’s sure of becoming the next Senate President and promised to swing a surprise in the Red Chamber during Tuesday’s inauguration.

“Well, I’ve said before that I am not looking for endorsement but looking for votes on Election Day. You know clearly that there is the difference between endorsement and election. You would recall too that in 2015 that story of endorsement was canvassed, he stressed.

“He has the endorsement but what happened on the floor of the Senate was different. This kind of thing has been there all along; we have seen endorsements against several elections. We are there already and it shall become past in a matter of hours from now”.