Senate presidency: APC’s endorsement of Lawan unconstitutional – Ndume

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The endorsement of Senator Ahmed Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the positions of Senate President and Speaker House of Representatives, in the 9th National Assembly, may have sparked off a crisis of confidence in the ruling party.

Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, one of the contenders for the Senate Presidency, on Tuesday described the endorsement APC handed to Lawan as unconstitutional and completely against the spirit of fair play.

The Borno South Senator told reporters in Abuja that the position of the party on who emerges the Senate President cannot stand as it did not follow due process.

The National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, was reported to have announced the endorsement of Lawan and Gbajabiamila as candidates of the APC for the posts of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Ndume said that he consulted widely and was given the go-ahead by party leaders to vie for the position.

He insisted the Constitution provided the procedure for the election of the Senate President. For him, the best the party could have done was to zone the slot of Senate President to a geo-political zone and allow the zone to choose their candidate.

Although Ndume said that he was not desperate for the position of Senate President, he assured that he would consult his colleagues on the way forward.

Ndume said: “First of all, let me say that the decision by the party to settle for an individual instead of zoning the position to a particular geopolitical zone and also consulting or allowing the senators from that zone to decide who among them they prefer as Senate President, is a surprise.

“We were surprised on Monday when national chairman of our party told us a decision had been taken to adopt Ahmed Lawan as candidate from the North East for the position of the President of the Senate.

“The reason why I am shocked and I am sure that is the feeling of my colleagues, is that the constitutional provision for the emergence of the leadership of the Senate is clearly spelt out.

“Section 51 (a) of the Constitution says that “there shall be a Senate President and Deputy Senate President who shall be elected by members of the House.

“Section 1 of the Constitution clearly states that “this Constitution is binding on all Nigerians and government agencies.

“It went further to say that any other law that contravenes the provision of the Constitution is null and void.

“As a party that is supposed to be democratic and as a government that insists on allowing due process to prevail, this is strange. A candidate of APC normally emerges by one of three means, namely- consensus, indirect elections and direct primaries.

Ndume said that the country needs a Senate President that can lead and added that, “We need a president that will represent the interest of Nigerians.”

According to him, zoning is not in the constitution.

The purpose of zoning, he said, is to enhance what the constitution says, which is equity and justice in what the government does.

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