*Says action unconstitutional
*’Party threading 2015 path to leadership crisis’
Former Senate Leader and one of the contenders for the position of the Senate Presidency in the forthcoming 9th National Assembly, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume (Borno South), has disagreed with the alleged endorsement of Senator Ahmad Lawan (Your North) and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as Speaker of the House of Representatives by the leadership of All Progressives Congress, APC, describing it as unconstitutional.
National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole had on Monday night in Aso Rock, told the 65 APC senators- elect that Lawan had been endorsed by the party for the position of President of the 9th Senate along with Gbajabiamila as Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives.
The 9th National Assembly is billed for inauguration on June 10 or 11.
But Ndume, who reacted to the party’s position at a media briefing in his Apo Legislative Quarters residence, Abuja , said such endorsements, run contrary to provisions of section 50(1a) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
The section states: “There shall be a President and Deputy President of the Senate who shall be elected by the members of that house from among themselves”.
According to him, by provisions of the constitution, neither Oshiomhole nor President Muhammadu Buhari or even any party leader, has the right to force on elected senators or Hon members of the House of Representatives, their presiding officers.
“What took place at the presidential dinner in Aso rock on Monday night where Oshiomhole as party chairman , announced Senator Ahmed Lawan and Hon Femi Gbajabiamila as President of the 9th Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively was very shocking to me and many of my colleagues.
“Oshiomhole in making the announcement or endorsement, did not even allow myself or Senators Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe Central) and Abdullahi Adamu (APC Nasarawa West), widely known to be in the race for the position to say anything.
“More disturbing was the fact that even Senator Ahmad Lawan endorsed for the position, was not allowed to make any comment in form of acceptance speech or soliciting for supports from other interested senators”, he said.
He added that the party expected to have learnt her lessons from the 2015 experience , is being made to thread the similar path of boomerang by Adams Oshiomhole.
According to him, since 1999, there was no time leadership was imposed on any of the chambers of the National Assembly without such imposition boomeranging.
“Under PDP, it happened with the imposition of Evans Enwerem and Adolphus Wabara as Senate President at different times and also with Patricia Etteh as Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2007 before the party eventually got it right in the 6th and 7th National Assembly, particularly in the Senate when Senator David Mark served twice as President of the Senate through supports in form of votes given to him by fellow senators and not endorsement by party chairman.
“For the sake of cohesion and stability among party members as regards aspirations for such positions, what was expected from the party leadership, was to just zone the positions and allow contenders within each of the zones to sorth it out either through consensus or shadow election.
“The 109 elected senators and 360 House of Representatives members are the constitutional kingmakers as far as emergence of presiding officers of both chambers are concerned and not national chairman of a ruling party or even the President”, he said.
He, however, declared that his loyalty to the party and in particular, President Muhammadu Buhari, has not been affected by the unfortunate decision of Oshiomhole on Monday night.
“I don’t even believe that President Buhari was in the know of what Oshiomhole did because he didn’t make any comment on leadership of the 9th Assembly at the dinner but only greeted us before the organizers of the programne hurriedly called for rendition of the National Anthem.
“We all left the place in shock and disbelief but my commitment and loyalty to the party remains”, he added.
He further explained that he would consult with party elders from Borno state and many of his colleagues who encouraged him to join the race on next line of action, saying “it is not over until the Almighty Allah makes final decision on who becomes President of the 9th Senate on the day of inauguration”.
Before inauguration of the 8th Senate on the 9th of June in 2015, Leadership of APC , endorsed Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila for the position of Senate Presidency and Speakership of the House of Representatives but both of them lost out at inauguration to other party members then.
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