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2023: Lawan’s ‘sudden’ presidential ambition tearing Senators apart



Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan
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The Nigerian Senators on the flagship of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are currently not knitted together as findings revealed that the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan has shown interest to contest the 2023 presidency.

His interest which is coming lately was over the weekend discovered that some Senators behind his plan to join the race were also planning to endorse him, thereby triggering ‘side talks’ and ‘murmuring’ among some who did not want to be openly quoted by the media.

However, some who were bold enough, bluntly spoke against Lawan’s interest which they described as injustice having the incumbent (President Muhammadu Buhari) coming from the north. They argued that Senate President’s ambition would polarise the party and not good enough, given the APC’s zoning which was intended to be fair to the North and Southern zones.

Senator Ali Ndume (APC) representing Boeno South Senatorial district when asked to speak on his perspective of the Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan’s interest was quick to say he has been leading the presidential campaign of the Minister of Transportation, Chief Rotimi Amaechi, hence, he will not be available to endorse Lawan for any reason.

Rotimi Amaechi has since indicated interest to contest the 2023 presidency and has been going round the country to consult and canvass for delegates support.

Senator Ndume, however said, he hasn’t been consulted by the promoters of Ahmad Lawan presidential interest, saying “They have not come because they know my position.

Nigerian Senators in session

“I have nothing against Ahmad Lawan; he is my colleague but I have everything against injustice. I won’t support even my biological brother. Fielding a northerner is tantamount to injustice and tantamount to a third term. The so-called northern elders that are pushing it are doing so to perpetuate injustice.

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“It’s the turn of the South and we have to support them to actualise this. I’m disappointed with those that are pushing this. I had since taken position even before my alignment with Amaechi,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Kabir Gaya (APC) representing Kano South Senatorial district and the Chairman of Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has since pitched his tent with the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

Gaya was a former governor of Kano State and is currently leading the campaign for the Vice President. It can’t be immediately confirm, if the lawmaker will dump Osinbajo for Ahmad Lawan as he couldn’t be reached to react before this report is being filed.

Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC) from Ogun State and former governor had last week declared interest to contest the 2023 presidency. Though, Amosun and Prof. Osinbajo comes from the same State, he may not be part of the Ahmad Lawan endorsement blues, given the seriousness with which he is going about his presidential ambition.

A Senator from the South East region on the platform of the All Progressives Congress who pleaded anonymity expressed concern, wondering how few elements in the red Chamber could be plotting an endorsement in the name of Senators.

According to him, the Senate President is a citizen who has right to vote and be voted for, but the idea of putting all Senators in the ‘endorsement basket’ was what he would not be a party to.

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He queried: “Lawan is from Yobe State, North East and does he really need the endorsement of Senators? We are representing Constituents and how do we communicate to them having earlier told our Constituents that the 2023 presidency has been zoned to the South by the governing party.

“To me, I see no reason for the endorsement coming from Senators particularly other presidential aspirants have been going round the country without any formal endorsement and as Senators we should be state manly.”

Senator Kashim Shettima (APC) who was former governor Borno State has been in the forefront of advancing Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s presidential interest, even as some Senators are quietly working for one presidential aspirant or the other, hence, the proposed endorsement of Ahmad Lawan may hit the rock when they resumed session on May 10, from Eid-el-Fitr break.

However, those promoting Ahmad Lawan’s interest may be limited to Senator Sabi Abdullahi APC), Niger and Senator Yusuf Yusuf (APC) Taraba who were reported to have said that the Senate President was under pressure to throw his hat into the ring.

CAPITAL POST, however, reports that before the National Assembly went on Eid-el-Fitr break, there was no single advocacy group, CSOs, political forum whatsoever that has protested to the National Assembly demanding for the Senate President to contest presidency.

Thus, the claim by the advance riders of Lawan presidency that he was under pressure by the Northern elders may not be in tandem with the reality, even as another lawmaker in the red Chamber has this to say: “It is untrue that he is being pushed by northern elders. He is pushing himself; otherwise, tell them to mention the northern elders. Who are they?

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“It is purely his aspiration and nobody is pushing him, rather he is pushing people to key into the project. They are planning to present him as the Senate consensus candidate and we are going to outrightly and publicly resist being railroaded into this failed project,” the lawmaker said.

Though a lawmaker who admitted to have been part of those supporting Lawan concealed names of Northern elders pushing for Lawan’s presidency cited himself as an elder, having come from the North and well above 70 years.

He said, “It is not for public consumption to name names. I’m one of them. Am I not an elder at over 70 and I have been in politics for over four decades?”

Another lawmaker in the Senate president’s camp said “Lawan is one of us and we will do all possible beat to support him.

CAPITAL POST recalled that the National leader of the APC, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu had visited the Senate APC caucus where the Senate President hosted him with eulogy on the virtues of the party leader.

Tinubu’s consultation visit was well attended by Senators.

Also, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who declared his interest to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari a fortnight ago, hosted Senators and House of Representatives members to Itfar at the presidential villa to canvass for support.

Since his declaration, Osinbajo has been going round the country to meet with the APC delegates ahead of primaries slated for May 30.


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