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Why Many APC Chieftains Are Behind Senate President

 •The Intimate Story Of AHMED LAWAN


The political projections that have been analysed by pundits about the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC for the presidential race took a new turn when the senate president threw in his hat a few weeks ago.

His indication came rather later after Nigerians were already considering a successor of President Buhari from the south. The battle for the party tickets was majorly between Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who according to reports, would seize the incumbent advantage over the other key contender, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who had also been in the political corridor for over 35 years.

Although there have been other credible aspirants who have identified their interest to run, and who are also within their clearly stipulated right to vote and be voted for, the infusion of Senate President, Ahmed Lawan has changed the game entirely. Even since the declaration of the senate president was made official, some pundits discovered that some aspirants who have worked assiduously to pick party tickets have withdrawn from their usual aggressive campaign and are reconsidering their options.

Can we then say, this gesture shows the political weight of the Senate President?

Last week, the Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, says nine presidential aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are set to step down to support the presidential ambition of the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan. Lawan, who purchased the N100 million forms last week, was among those who joined the presidential race late.

Before the statement, Senator Uzor, who was also a former Governor and an aspirant in the race for the presidency, had reportedly withdrawn his interest and back the Senate President. He was the first to drop his presidential ambition in support of Lawan on the grounds of APC’s failure to zone the presidential ticket to the South-East.

A source within the APC revealed to City People that there are interesting days ahead before the primaries. He added that Nigerians are yet to experience the political drama that will unfold with the entrance of the senate president Lawan.

Lawan’s candidature will rock like a hurricane. The issue of the APC presidential candidate will be settled even before the primaries. As I am talking to you, about nine presidential aspirants from our party have intimated me of their plans to drop their presidential ambition to support Ahmad Lawan,” he said.

“Does that not signify victory before the election? Lawan’s candidature will rock like a hurricane. Lawan is from the North-East and has similar sympathy with the South-East that is yet to produce President.”, he added.

There are also indications that a very influential presidential aspirant from the opposition party will soon join the APC in a shock move to support the aspiration of Ahmed Lawan. In the red chamber, the senate president enjoys unwavering support from distinguished senators who are ready to go miles for him. He is the first senate president who will get endorsement for the second time with a resounding number of 61 senators. His leadership style and how he carries other senators along on every matter have proven beyond doubt that he is fit for the job.

Aside, from former Zamfara State Governor, Sani Ahmed Yarima, from North-West geo-political zone and Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello from North Central, Lawan from Yobe in the North-East zone is the third aspirant from the North seeking the party ticket.

Incidentally, the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu is from the North Central state of Nasarawa while President Buhari is from the North-West State of Katsina as Sani Yarima.

While some people believe that Senate President Lawal was pitched into the race because of the calculations of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP to field a northerner, Senator Lawan’s handlers are of the opinion that his infusion was a function of popular demand.

Lawan himself stated that he came into the race to heed the call of his people.

“The fact that we came out last speaks volumes because I didn’t just wake up one morning and say I want to be President. It took a lot of time for those who believe in me to talk to me to also throw my hat in the ring. And after some time, I accepted.

“And that is to say that some people are not satisfied with those they are seeing and they think that we can do better. I have a great deal of respect for those who are running,” he said. The senate president has been in the national assembly since the beginning of the fourth republic in 1999. But yet, this is not the real game at play.

The real game that brought in Senate President was because of the resignation clause that has affected many political appointees to contest for any elective post in the forthcoming elections.

The section states that; “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the Convention or Congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election”.

 Recall that most of the ministers were confused last week as to whether to continue with their ambition to be president and lose their chances as a Minister.

Attempts by the executive to use the judiciary to delete that aspect of the law however fell flat and forced some of the governors to vow that all Senators involved in drafting and supporting that portion Act would not get a return ticket.

state governors usually had the upper hand as most of their appointees including unelected local government administrators or caretaker chairmen formed part of the delegates they often took to the conventions.

A party official who is in the know of the power play told City People that the lawmakers have also vowed to queue behind the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, in his quest to clinch the APC presidential ticket.

Lawan was drafted into the race at the eleventh hour by some bigwigs in the party, who were initially backing an aspirant from the South-South. But following the discovery that the said aspirant could be impeded by the amended Electoral Act, the party chieftains switched their support to the Senate President.

“The thinking is that the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is likely to emerge from the North, North-East precisely. If that happens that way, there are some chieftains who believe Lawan can fight anyone from the zone since he is also from there”, said the party source.

Noting that Lawan has the support of his governor, Mai Mala Buni and Imo state Governor, Hope Uzodinma, the party official said the Senate President’s camp is working on securing the support of more governors.

The big wigs are also angry that one of the influential presidential aspirants allegedly sponsored no fewer than seven of the 28 presidential aspirants in the APC.

But as the race gets intense, it is important to note that former President Goodluck Jonathan and Central Bank of Nigeria CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, did not submit their forms while the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige withdrew from the race. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole also did not eventually pick the presidential Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms.

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