After weeks of political intrigues, Senator Ahmad Lawan, representing Yobe North Senatorial District, has been elected the ninth Senate President.
The ninth senate president , Ahmad Lawan and his major contender for the post, Ali Ndume, from Borno South Senatorial District, are both from the North-East. In the end, Senator Lawan polled 79 votes to defeat Ali Ndume with 28 votes.
Yahaya Abdullahi from Kebbi State nominated Lawan and was supported by Solomon Olamilekan of Lagos State. Ndume on the other hand was nominated by PDP Senators, Ishaku Abbo Adamawa-North Senator-elect of the Peoples Democratic Party and seconded by Rivers South-East senator-elect Barinada Mpigi.
It is noteworthy that whereas the two candidates are from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the Presidency had expressed preference for Lawan in the build up to the inauguration of the ninth senate.
Lawan was also endorsed by APC in 2015 but lost to former senate President, Bukola Saraki, who outsmarted his APC colleagues by making a pact with the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party.
The journey to the leadership of the ninth senate was not without its politicking and Machiavellian manoeuvres. At a point, President Muhammadu Buhari had to prevail on Danjuma Goje, representing Gombe central senatorial district who was also in the race for the presidency of the ninth senate, to step down for Lawan, Gombe is also in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.
This deft move by the Presidency was considered a major setback for Ndume’s aspiration and a boost to Lawan’s. The coalition, including opposition PDP, who had thought that Goje’s votes would diminish the total votes cast for Lawan, thereby propelling their endorsed candidate, suddenly realised they had more work to do with the withdrawal of Senator Goje from the race.
At the inauguration of the senate today and after his nomination, Ndume emphasised the need for the senate to be independent of the presidency and called on his colleagues to vote according to their consciences.
Ndume has displayed a high spirit of sportsmanship in the hallow chambers today during voting. Ndume already congratulated his challenger, even while counting was still on. He stood up from his seat and went up to Senator Lawan, shook hands with him and then congratulated him.
As expected, the camaraderie spirit demonstrated by Ndume, was appreciated with cheers from colleagues in the senate.