On Thursday, Senator Danjuma Goje, one of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers who is aspiring for the position of Senate Presidency, withdrew his candidacy and endorsed his party’s preferred choice, Senator Ahmed Lawan.
His decision came following a crucial meeting the two senators led by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna had with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
El-Rufai led Lawan, Goje and Senator-elect Uba Sani to discuss the way forward ahead of the election of the 9th National Assembly Senate President.
Naija Buzz had weeks ago reported how the ruling APC declared Senator Lawan as its anointed candidate to succeed Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Lawan was also the party’s preferred candidate in 2015, but Saraki, who was an APC senator, however emerged after a deal with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Goje who spoke to journalists after the meeting revealed that he decided to step down for Lawan because President Buhari asked him to do so.
He further noted that his decision was in the interest of the party, adding that he wasn’t compelled to step down for Lawan.
“I am supporting the party’s position thereby endorsing the candidature of Sen. Lawan,” Mr. Goje said.
“I am not compelled to step down; I have been winning my elections many times from local government to House of Assembly to National Assembly to governorship and I was also a minister,” he noted.
“To say that I have been threatened to support somebody, no. I am supporting Lawan based on my own conviction that I am doing the right thing for our country, for our president,’’ he added.
Apart from Goje, Mr. Ali Ndume is another APC senator who had vehemently rejected his party’s decision to endorse Lawan.
Ndume had repeatedly insisted that he would contest the position against his party’s choice.
According to him, the decision to pick and endorse one preferred candidate for the position is unjust.
Senator Lawan appreciated Goje’s decision to endorse him, saying that it would bring unity in the ruling party ahead of the June 11 election in the senate.
“I believe that is the way to go, we want to go to the ninth Senate focused and united right from onset, kickstart our activities which is very important at this time,” he said while speaking to journalists today.
“I want to thank Senator Goje, he is very experienced politician like he has said; he has been in this business much longer and than most of us really,” Lawan added.
The APC is working really hard to ensure that what happened in 2015 does not repeat itself again.
The emergence of Senator Saraki instead of Lawan who is the party’s choice and Hon. Yakubu Dogara instead of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila led to its (APC) colossal loss of control at the National Assembly.
Consequently, the party in a statement through its National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had warned all party lawmakers against making any deal with the PDP, insisting that Lawan and Gbajabiamila must emerge as Senate President and Speaker respectively.
The problem however is that the PDP has a very good number of senators in the senate.
Out of the 109 senators, the ruling APC currently have 57, while the opposition have 52.
APC Deputy National Chairman, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, in a leaked letter which was published last week on Naija Buzz noted that the party’s candidate cannot emerge senate president without going down on their kneels to seek for the support of the PDP.
If APC plot works out well on June 11, it would be the first time since 1999 a ruling party would successfully impose a candidate on lawmakers.
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.