The All Progressives Congress, APC, has welcomed the development in the Nigerian Senate, which led to the replacement of the former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, with Ahmed Lawan.
The party in a statement by its spokesperson, Bolaji Abdullahi, on Tuesday said it views the change in leadership “as concrete expression of faith by the APC Senate Caucus in our efforts to resolve the lingering issues that have trailed the election of Senate leadership”.
Mr. Lawan from Yobe State was the preferred candidate of the APC leadership to emerge as Senate President on June 9 last year, which could not happen because Bukola Saraki was elected against the wish of the party leadership.
The APC leadership had at first ostracized Mr. Saraki and openly vowed that he must be removed. However, recent developments within the party had seen Mr. Saraki warm his way back to the leadership of the APC.
Mr. Saraki had at the end of last year led the Senate Caucus of the party to a meeting with the leadership of the APC; the first one since he emerged Senate President.
Mr. Ndume told PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday that his removal as Senate Leader was because of his public statement that Ibrahim Magu had not been rejected as substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial crimes Commission, EFCC, by the Senate.
The Senate spokesperson had repeatedly said Mr. Magu’s nomination had been rejected by the Senate.
The APC said on Tuesday that Mr. Ndume’s removal as Senate majority leader is good for the party.
“We believe this is a major step forward in our efforts to reunite the various interest groups in that Senate election, thereby presenting a common legislative front for our great party.
“We are particularly delighted that the consultations that were initiated towards the end of 2015 between the party caucuses in the National Assembly and the party executives as well as other leading stakeholders of our party has yielded these results and the Senate has demonstrated its willingness to finally submit to the will of the party in this regard,” the statement said.
The statement recalled that as soon as the issue of election in the Senate occurred, the party leadership had resolved that Mr. Lawan be compensated with the position of Senate Leader.
“Sadly, that directive was not fully complied with at the time. But we are happy to see this change effected, which represents a significant progress in our efforts to build a strong and united party.
“With this development therefore, we are confident that the issues arising from the elections in the Senate in 2015 have been put to rest,” the party said.
APC thanked Mr. Ndume from Borno State for his service and sacrifice to the party, which, it said would not be forgotten.
“We also congratulate Senator Lawan, the new Senate Leader on his election by the APC caucus in the Senate. We hope he will use his vast experience and knowledge to enhance legislative works to further our party’s agenda of change,” it said.
The party assured Nigerians that it will continue to work with President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve any other pending issues that may have affected it at different levels.
“However, with this latest development, APC has demonstrated its resilience and capacity to resolve its internal differences in order to realise the true change and transformation that we promised Nigerians,” it said.