by Deji Abiodun
The All Progressives Congress, APC, last night adopted Senator Ahmad Lawan as its sole candidate for the post of Senate President in the election of the principal officers of the 8th senate to be conducted on Tuesday.
The party also adopted the Deputy Minority leader of the Senate in the 7th Senate, Senator George Akume as the Deputy Senate President.
The party had held a mock election for the principal officers of the National Assembly in a bid to ensure that it did not go into the election with a divided house.
The modality for the election had generated heated debate as Senators-elect supporting Senator Bukola Saraki had insisted that the process of voting should be by secret voting to avoid any form of harassment of their members.
But this position was said to have been turned down by the National Working Committee, NWC of the party led by the National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, but it however, delayed the election process till about 11:30 pm.
Before voting started, the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun announced that there were going to be two ballot papers for the position of Senate President and Deputy Senate President for the election to be given to each Senator and the voters to write the name of their preferred candidate.
Senate Barnabas Gemade nominated Senator Ahmad Lawan from Yobe North for Senate President and he was seconded by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Lagaos Central, while Senator Robert Ajayi Boroface nominated Senator George Akume for Deputy Senate President and he was seconded by Senator Sani Shehu.
At the end of voting, 32 voted for Lawan for Senate President out of 33, while 31 voted for Akume for Deputy out of 33 with one voided vote for the Senate Presidency and two voided votes for the Deputy Senate Presidency.
All the Senators that voted wrote their names on the ballot papers with the names of the candidate they voted for.
The National Chairman of the Party, Chief Oyegun after the election commended the people for their patience and assured that he would ensure that internal democracy is institutionalised.
He also promised that transparency must be the watch word and that as time goes on with the spirit of change must be seen in everything that is done in the party.
He said having adopted Lawan as the sole candidate, the party will always be with him and in constant consultations with the APC members in the National Assembly.
He told the adopted candidates to do everything to elevate the image of the National Assembly.
In his acceptance speech, Senator Lawan said what happened was history in the making, stating that change has come to Nigeria as the party’s NWC painstakingly conducted the process and the procedure for bringing out the candidates for the principal officers.
He said, “I want to thank the NWC for giving all of us the opportunity to aspire, and the process has been very transparent.
“This is not a victory to Unity Forum, we need to bring together the APC Senators elect and the APC senators in the chamber. The change will not be meaningful with a divided house. We will make sure that we bring our members on the other side. We also want the NWC to come in.
“We will not let you down, we will at all times, try to be firm and just. We need to reach out to our PDP colleagues. I want to see a senate that is massively stable and work in consensus for the good of the country. We want a senate that will be bi-partisan in approach.
“If I become the senate president, it will be a legislature that is for Nigerians and a focus legislature.”