A contender for the position of Senate President in the 9th Senate, Ahmed Lawan, has expressed confidence that senators of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will endorse him.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Saturday, Mr Lawan said he expects all senators of the opposition party to support his bid.
Details of the briefing were shared with PREMIUM TIMES by journalists present.
The lawmaker’s comment came as a reaction to his endorsement by Peter Nwaboshi, a PDP senator.
Mr Lawan, who is currently the Senate Leader, said Nigerians only care about the betterment of their lives and not the political parties lawmakers represent.
He noted that what Mr Nwaboshi did is not a crack in the fence of PDP but a display of patriotism.
The senator also praised Ifeanyi Uba, a senator of the Young People’s Party (YPP) for his support.
“We are expecting the PDP senator-elects to – all of them – have an understanding with us and endorse me as a caucus,” he said.
“Let me first pay tribute first to Senator Ifeanyi Uba of the YPP. Senator Ifeanyi Uba identified with our aspirations the first day the idea of running for this office and he has been with us all through. We are campaigning together and sometimes he goes alone to spread our vision for the ninth assembly.
“Particularly to the endorsement by Senator Peter Nwoboshi who is a serving senator and also a PDP senator. What the endorsement means is not a crack in the fence of the PDP but in the Senate. What the endorsement means is that feeling of patriotism, that feeling of the necessity of all of us that will be in the ninth Senate to work together in the national interest.
“That feeling that Nigerians don’t care what platform you represent in the Senate. What Nigerians care for will be what the ninth is able to do to better their lives.
“What Nigerians care for is the improvement in the security of their lives and properties. What Nigerians care about is how the economy will be improved and enhanced and revitalised so that it is an all-inclusive economy.
“An economy that will work for those at the lowest level of the ladder and those at the highest level. Those who will great the businesses and those who will need to be employed.”
Mr Lawan said although the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari brought the country out of recession, a lot more needs to be done in collaboration with the National Assembly.
“We know that this administration has done a lot in the last four years, getting out recession to a growth per cent of between two and three per cent of the GDP today. But we are still faced with that challenge if expanding the economy, diversifying the economy or providing employment for our teeming youth who need to have accommodation in the economy.
“That is what Nigerians expect the National Assembly to do with the executive arm of government.”
“So our platforms are simply vehicles that will convey everybody [to parliament]. We have our belief and whatever our beliefs are and whatever your political party is, it must be central in looking at one thing – how do I work with my colleagues to making Nigeria better,” he said.
Mr Lawan is a major contender for the position having emerged as candidate favoured by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Senators Ali Ndume and Danjuma Goje are other APC aspirants, even though the latter has not publicly declared intention.
As experienced in 2015, the vote of opposition lawmakers is very crucial in the emergence of presiding officers of the Senate.
Even though Mr Lawan was the favoured candidate of APC in 2015, another party man, Bukola Saraki, was able to lobby the PDP lawmakers and eventually won.
Election of presiding officers of the 9th Senate is expected to hold on June 11.