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Battle for Senate Presidency Toughens As Hard Liners In APC May Ruin Ruling Party’s Chances

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By Chibuike Nwabuko

The battle for the Senate Presidency remains a three-way affair for Dr. Ahmad Lawan, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Alhaji Danjuma Goje and a former Senate Leader, Alhaji Ali Ndume.

The inability of the ruling All Progressives Congress to get two of its contestants to step down for one may throw spanner in the works for the party.

There are fears that should Goje and Ndume continue to be adamant, they could split the votes of APC Senators-elect and pave the way for the emergence of a Senate President from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

PDP, which has 46 out of 108 Senators-elect, is waiting in the wings for a major crack in APC to determine the next Senate President.

Lawan group on the other hand is making an inroad into the PDP to be able to get a simple majority.

While the Senate rules say a Senate President can emerge with a simple majority of the votes cast during the election of principal officers, the House of Representatives Standing Orders require a candidate for Speaker or any office to have half of the votes of the number of members-elect at the inaugural session.

A Senator-elect from North-West said: “Both Goje and Ndume have continued with their campaign although that of Ndume has been more obvious.

“So far, Ndume appears determined to see through the election on the floor on the inauguration day.

“In spite of the fact that Goje has not set up a structure, we know he has a ready-made platform he might use if he eventually makes up his mind to defy APC directive.

“We are not deterred at all. Where we should accord the ex-governor respect, Lawan has done so. The Senate leader met Goje about two weeks ago at the wedding of his daughter. Some emissaries, including ex-governors, have also had audience with Goje on behalf of Lawan.

“As for Ndume, he has drawn the battle line from the beginning but even at that some governors have interfaced with him to allow Lawan to be.”

A governor who is involved in some talks with Goje, said: “We are still persuading the former governor to allow Lawan to have his way. Typical of lobbying in any legislature, he came up with a few issues which are resolvable.

“I will not tell you the issues/ grouses/ terms as may be applicable. We think we can mutually agree on a few things and keep our house in order for a smooth 9th Senate.”

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