Senator Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger North), who is acting as spokesman of Senator Ahmed Lawan’s bid for the senate presidency has said at least 73 senators-elect currently back the Senate Leader’s candidacy.
- “I can confirm to you that on the day of inauguration, Senator Ahmad Lawan will garner more than two-thirds of the votes. Not less than 73 from both the APC and the PDP,” Abdullahi said.
- He said senators are being engaged and those in Lawan’s corner would not be flaunted so as not to disrespect “our colleagues.”.
What Lawan’s leadership of the senate would look like, according to Abdullahi:
- All-inclusive: “The nature of parliament is such that you cannot shut anybody out. It is not possible,” he said. “The notion from the PDP side that they would be excluded, should be withdrawn forthwith. What we are planning to do is to have a senate that will be for all senators.”
- Collaboration with the executive: “We want to work together with the executive because we have just one Federal Government in Nigeria and we must move the country forward.”
- A working senate: “Let me say very clearly that our aspiration is to have the Senate that works for Nigeria.”
Between the lines:
- Lawan’s team is trying to show momentum. There was a claim this week that Ali Ndume, the Borno senator who is contesting against Lawan, has 36 senators-elect in his corner. Claiming that Lawan has more than double that number backing him may be deliberate.
- Lawan’s team is trying to woo PDP senators. The APC spokesman, Lanre Isa-Onilu, said last month that the APC is not going to share power with the PDP in the national assembly, including leadership of “juicy committees.” They are exclusive for the APC, he said. Lawan’s team is avoiding that hard-line position, knowing that even though the APC has the majority, Lawan may still lose if all PDP senators vote for a rival candidate and a few APC senators defect.