The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), recorded a huge victory last Tuesday, when lawmakers of its choice were elected as presiding officers of the 9th National Assembly. In the red chamber, Senators Ahmed Lawan of Yobe North and Ovie Omo-Agege of Delta Central, were elected as Senate and Deputy Senate President respectively. At the end of the roll-call of Senators during inauguration, 107 out of the 109 senators-elect were present at the chamber.
At the close of voting, Lawan who was unanimously adopted by the APC, polled 79 votes to defeat his rival, Senator Ali Ndume of Borno South, who polled with 28 votes. Ndume had defiantly contested for the position against the decision of the leadership of the APC. In the Deputy Senate President contest, Senator Omo-Agege polled 68 votes to defeat ambitious senator Ike Ekweremadu of the PDP, who scored 37.
Not even the last minute endorsement of Ali Ndume by the PDP could stop the emergence of Lawan as Senate President. It was reliably gathered that less than 24 hours to the inauguration of the Assembly, governors, lawmakers and chieftains of the PDP held series of meetings in Abuja in a bid to influence the emergence of new leaders of the two chambers. At the end of their meetings which lasted till the early hours of Tuesday, in an apparent move to deny the emergence of the annointed candidate of the APC, Lawan as Senate President, the leadership of the PDP allegedly issued a statement urging its lawmakers to vote Ndume as Senate President.
A chieftain of the PDP who asked not to be named, noted that the endorsement of Ndume came a little bit too late. According to him, the party was all along rooting for former Gombe state governor, Danjuma Goje, but he bowed out of the race a few days to the election. The development, it was gathered, left the party’s Senators with little choice order than to support whoever they felt comfortable with.
In his acceptance speech, the newly elected Senate President pledged to be fair to his colleagues, irrespective of their political, ethnic or religious affiliation, while Omo-Agege promised to assist him to actualise his dreams.
Lawan said, “Elections are over. It shows that we voted for a united Senate and it is clear that the outcome is bipartisan. All parties, including the PDP and the Young Peoples Party voted for me, and with the outcome, the 9th Senate is ready to take off as a united Senate.”
The APC also recorded another victory at the lower chamber, following the election of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila and Idris Wase as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively. Both men were the anoited candidates of their party.