NIGERIA’S ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has thrown its weight behind moves by its senate presidency candidate Senator Ahmad Lawan who has opened talks with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to acquire its support.
Senator Lawan, 60, the current senate majority leader, who has just been returned as the lawmaker representing Yobe North Senatorial District, is the favourite to land the plum job as the number three citizen. In 2015, he had been tipped to become senate president by Senator Bukola Saraki out-manoeuvred the APC leadership to clinch the job.
Now, the APC is keen not to suffer the same fate, so the party has thrown its weight behind Senator Lawan but he is facing challenges from two of his colleagues in Senators Ali Ndume and Danjuma Goje. To overcome this threat, Senator Lawan has opened talks with the PDP about getting the backing of its senators.
APC publicity secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said the party is not averse to Senator Lawan’s decision to negotiate with the PDP lawmakers towards achieving his objectives. He added that the APC maintains the majority seats in the both chambers of the incoming National Assembly and as such has the capacity to produce the presiding officers in the federal legislature alone but talking to the opposition is fine.
He added: “We are inundated with reports of our members in the National Assembly holding consultations with members of the opposition over the election of leaders into the ninth National Assembly. Let me state that our party has no objection to such consultations as it is a normal democratic practice the world over to stretch hands across the divides.
“Contrary to some media reports, the actions of our members do not contradict the party’s position. The APC has comfortable majority in both chambers, so we have the number to produce the leadership but democracy recognises the importance of the opposition, especially when you do not have two-third which would be required at some very critical situations.
“For us as a ruling party, we understand that a stable and peaceful National Assembly would enhance our capacity to deliver more for the people of Nigeria, so the party is not averse to negotiations by Senator Ahmed Lawan and our other senators-elect working to fulfil the position taken by our party. It is important to note that one of the key considerations for adopting him as the party’s candidate for the senate presidency is his ability to carry everyone along.”
Mallam Issa-Onilu added that the party has confidence in Senator Lawan not to compromise the progressive ideology of APC. he pointed out that the senator is capable of conducting his negotiations within the prism of APC’s objectives.