Thursday, 28 March 2019

Senate President: Buhari, APC Leaders Pacify Goje

LEADERS of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have moved fast to nip in the bud any disaffection on Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan’s choice for Senate President.

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met with one of the leading contenders for the job, Sen. Danjuma Goje.

Besides, top APC leaders, senators and senators-elect have held series of meetings with Goje to prevent him from being “hijacked” by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

It was learnt that Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima and Lawan’s supporters met another aspirant, Sen. Ali Ndume, to prevail on him to accept Lawan.

Parliamentary Support Group Chairman Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, who wanted to be Senate president, is backing the President and the APC on the candidature of Lawan.

The President, APC governors and party leaders have spent the last 24 hours clearing the intrigues surrounding Lawan’s recommendation for the job.

It was gathered that the President personally coordinated the initiative to keep the party’s caucus in the Senate united ahead of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly in June.

Eleven meetings have been held between Tuesday and yesterday to reduce tension among APC senators-elect, The Nation learnt.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We are getting closer to an amicable resolution of all issues/ grievances on the recommendation of Lawan. There have been meetings in the last 24 hours on the need to respect the wishes of the President and APC.

“As the leader of the party, the President has been in charge of the initiative. He has had audience with Goje on why Lawan was picked and the need for all stakeholders to work with him.

“Some APC governors, top leaders of the party and senators-elect have also reached out to Goje. We want to avoid any rancour in the party and reduce tension. We know the PDP is waiting in the wing for any slip but we won’t allow it.

“We will come out with power-sharing formula in a way that all stakeholders, including Senate presidential aspirants, will be fully integrated.”

A senator-elect from the Northcentral said: “When some of us met with Goje, he simply said: ‘If that is what the President wants, I will not drag it. As at this stage, I cannot afford any crisis.’ He is so patriotic about it.”

Regarding Sen. Adamu, a senator-elect from Northcentral said: “The former governor has really keyed into Lawan’s project.”

But a rapprochement could not be fostered with Ndume who left Abuja on Tuesday for his Borno State home.

A senator-elect from the Northwest added: “Sen. Ndume is away; we are expecting him back on Thursday. But Lawan’s strategists have raised a team to meet with him on why the President and APC took the decision on the Senate presidency.

“In fact, Governor Kashim Shettima has volunteered to discuss with Ndume to allow the choice of Lawan.”

The APC is battling to keep its members united to avoid a repeat of the situation of 2015 as being allegedly plotted by PDP.

“We will not allow the opposition to break our rank this time around. It is a global convention that the party that has more members in the parliament will produce the leadership.

“We have the majority; we will not succumb to the tyranny of the minority this time around,” a source said, adding: “Notwithstanding, we will extend the olive branch to PDP senators-elect. We are also talking to them to come on board.”

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