Fresh facts emerging from the Presidency indicate that President Muhammadu Buhari has remained unyielding to the subtle pressure to get him personally endorse a particular candidate for the Senate Presidency and Speakership of the 9th National Assembly.
The revelation is coming amid pressure by some leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to secure the buy-in of the President to the plot to impose their preferred candidates as presiding officers in both Senate and House of Representatives.
Presidency sources said the president’s well-known position of non-interference remained unchanged, contrary to a sponsored report portraying him as meddling in the election of the leadership of National Assembly.
According to the sources, the report was unfair to him, knowing fully well that he does not interfere in election process.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that contrary to media reports that Buhari was going to prevail on Senator Danjuma Goje and Senator Ali Ndume, both of whom have indicated interest in the Senate presidency alongside the party’s preferred candidate, Ahmed Lawan, the President will not do so because he has no preference among the three.
A source close to Senator Ndume also told our correspondent that, “there was no such meeting where Mr. President prevailed on Ndume and Goje to drop their ambitions for Lawan”.
“There is not going to be any such meeting because the president, historically, has never interfered in an electoral process at any time and at any level, right from his time in Congress of Progressive Change (CPC). In fact, he never interfered in his own election. As he has said before, he belongs to everybody and he belongs to no particular person. And this case of the Senate cannot be an exception because we know him to be a man of his word,” the source said.
He added: “And by the way, the presidency, through its spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, had issued a statement long ago that the president will not interfere in the emergence of the leadership of the National Assembly. Mr. President’s position was further reinforced by Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly, Ita Enang.
“Even the pronouncement nominating Ahmed Lawan is not a decision of the party. Why masquerading personal agenda as party agenda? Even the party chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, clearly stated on ‘ Hard Copy’ that they are not imposing Lawan on APC senators and that APC senators-elect that wish to contest are free to do so, therefore the party or the president cannot just come out to force any senator to drop his ambition for Lawan.
“However, if among the contestants they decide through consensus, that’s a different thing. So this idea that the President will call the three contestants and ask them to drop their ambition for Ahmed Lawan is a figment of their imagination,” it further said.
According to him, “What they are doing out there now would further infuriate the senators, for example, their desperation to want to amend the rules. They sponsored protest to demand the amendment of Senate rules, especially the rule on secret voting, forgetting that it is derived from the constitution. And the same constitution, in Section 50, says the Senate shall elect its leaders from among itself. Mr President will never join anyone to subvert the constitution, hence his stand on this matter.”
“But you see, they have come out to drop the president’s name here and there. And by the way, if Ahmed Lawan is popular, why worry about the voting system, about endorsement, about talking to senators on behalf of Ahmed Lawan, about using governors??” the source asked.
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