Buhari Meets New Lawmakers Behind Closed Doors as PDP Backs Ali Ndume for Senate Presidency

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday night met with members-elect of the National Assembly ahead of the inauguration of the 9th NASS on Tuesday.

The President met the lawmakers-elect in company with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, and members of the parties National Working Committee as well as APC governors at the Sheraton in the nation’s capital Abuja.

At the end of the meeting which was held behind closed doors, none of the lawmakers-elect or party officials were willing to speak to journalists about the meeting and the discussions with the President and party leaders.

The meeting is, however, believed to be aimed at putting final touches to the APC’s plans for the leadership of the 9th National Assembly.

The party has endorsed Senator Ahmed Lawan and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege for the position of Senate President and Deputy President, respectively, while Femi Gbajabiamila and Idris Wase were chosen for the role of Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.

Although many lawmakers-elect including governors elected under the party have backed the choice of Lawan and Gbajabiamila, there has been opposition to the choice with Senator Ali Ndume gunning for the Senate Presidency, while Muhammad Umaru Bago wants to Speaker.

The APC NWC had met with governors and members of the National Assembly elected on the platform of the party earlier in the day to endorse Lawan and Gbajabiamila as its choice for the position Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively.

Meanwhile, in view of the inauguration of the 9th assembly and election of its leaders slated for Tuesday, June 11, 2019, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed support for  Sen. Ali Ndume for the position of the President of the Senate of the 9th National Assembly (NASS).

The party in a statement issued by its National Secretary,  Sen. Umar  Tsauri, early on Tuesday also endorsed Mr Umar  Bago for  the post of Speaker of the House of Representatives.

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Tsauri said that the endorsement was arrived at after very extensive consultations with critical stakeholders ahead of the inauguration of the 9th NASS.

“The final resolution on Sen. Ndume and  Bago was reached at the end of a decisive meeting of members of the National Working Committee, party leaders, state governors as well as senators and members-elect on the platform of the PDP.

“This decision is in the best interest of the nation in line with our party’s determination to deepen democracy, ensure a strong and independent legislature, strict compliance with the principle of separation of powers as well as constitutional checks and balances in the polity.”

“All senators and members-elect on the platform of the PDP are to be guided accordingly,” he said.

Ndume from Borneo is running against Sen. Ahmed Lawan from Yobe, who is the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Bago, a three-time member of the House of Representatives, will contest against Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, also chosen by the APC leadership.

Lawan and Gbajabiamila became the leader of the Senate and leader of the House of Representatives respectively in the 8th NASS after losing contests for the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House in spite of the endorsement of the party in 2015.

Samson Oyedeyi

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