Nigeria’s ruling party has vowed that there is no going back on its choice of Ahmed Lawan as Nigeria’s next Senate President.
The APC’s stance comes a day after Ali Ndume, another APC senator and senator-elect, questioned the mode of adoption of Mr Lawan and vowed to continue with his quest to become the Senate President in the next National Assembly.
The APC also says it will be an exercise in futility for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to nurse the ambition of producing the next Senate President.
Lanre Issa-Onilu, the APC National Publicity Secretary, stated these at an interactive session with reporters on Wednesday at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
Mr Issa-Onilu said the APC would not share legislative powers with the PDP because according to him, it is capable of running the government alone.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the PDP earlier insisted its members will contest for top legislative positions in the next assembly despite the APC’s majority among newly-elected senators.
The APC has over 60 members of the incoming 109 senators.
On Wednesday, the APC said that in every democracy any party that had the majority number automatically produced the President of the Senate, ”and that Nigeria would not be an exception.”
Mr Issa-Onilu said the APC already had the number to produce the President of the Senate and other leadership positions in the Senate and House of Representatives.
“Nigerians had given us more than we had in the outgoing Senate, so we have enough in terms of numbers of senators to elect all our officers.
“It will be an exercise in futility for the PDP to want to share from what Nigerians had taken away from them.
“We don’t need a single vote from the PDP, and in any case, we don’t envisage any election on that day,” the official said.
He said that all the APC needed to do was to present its members to occupy the leadership positions in the Senate and House of Representatives as a collective decision of the party in line with its constitution.
Mr Issa-Onilu, however, said that the PDP was free to also nominate its candidates if it desired, but stated that the APC would not contest any position in the Senate with it or any other opposition party.
Choice of Lawan
According to him, Mr Lawan remained the APC’s choice for the president of the Senate in the 9th Senate.
He said that the decision had not been controverted since it was taken by the party’s leadership.
The APC spokesman said that notwithstanding the party had several other elected and returning senators with a huge pedigree to choose from, Mr Lawan was favoured among them.
“There is nothing Lawan has in the open that others don’t have, but we have to make just one choice,” he said.
On Ali Ndume’s reaction to the party’s choice of Mr Lawan as the next president of the Senate, that the decision was not democratic, Mr Issa-Onilu said he (Ndume) was free as an individual to air his grievance.
He said that as a respected member of the APC, though Mr Ndume had a right to his views, the senator must nevertheless abide by the party’s decision following the principle of party supremacy.
PREMIUM TIMES reported Mr Ndume’s stance on Tuesday. He accused the APC of not consulting among its elected senators before endorsing Mr Lawan. He also said he believes the enjoys the support of a large number of the party’s incoming senators.
Mr Ndume said the APC should have acted democratically by zoning the Senate presidency to a region and allowing its members from that zone to contest among themselves.
Both Messrs Ndume and Lawan are from the North-east part of Nigeria. Mr Ndume is a senator from Borno State, while Mr Lawan is a senator from Yobe State.
Zoning For Other Positions
On Wednesday, the APC spokesman said the party’s leadership was considering the zoning arrangement for other leadership positions in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
He re-emphasised that the APC would not share any committee chairmanship position with the opposition PDP.
“What the PDP called juicy committees which we prefer to call strategic committees is exclusive to the APC.
“We are not going to share power with the people that Nigerians have rejected or compromise on the promises we have made to Nigerians.
“Nigerians cannot give us a mandate, and we go (and) share the mandate with those they rejected,” he said.
On the non-issuance of the certificate of return to Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Issa-Onilu said the APC could not intervene in the issue.
“The party cannot take any action because he is in the first instance on suspension and until that is vacated, we cannot step in on his behalf,” he said.
Speaking on the alleged involvement of Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation in Rivers politics, Mr Issa-Onilu said the minister had not engaged in any anti-party activities.
He added that though the APC does not have governorship candidate in Rivers, the people of the state were very important to the party.
“If we have the opportunity of working with a party that will abide by our principles, it is within our right to work with such a party to ensure that we free the people of Rivers from hardship.
“Whatever has happened in Rivers, and whatever Rotimi Amaechi has done, is completely normal and acceptable to this party,” the scribe said.