Fred Itua, Abuja
The coast is now clear for the emergence of Ahmad Lawan as the president of the Ninth Senate on Tuesday, June 11, as 60 senators-elect of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and about 38 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have endorsed him.
Also included on the five-page endorsement list is Senator Ifeanyi Uba of the Young People Party (YPP).
But his rival, Mohammed Ali Ndume, in a switch reaction, dismissed the endorsements, arguing that the endorsements do not translate into election victory, insisting that in a matter of hours, he would emerge as Senate President.
At the event in Abuja yesterday, the original copy of the signatures of all the 60 APC lawmakers and Uba were collated and handed over to Lawan by Yahaya Abdullahi, chairman of the Senator Ahmad Lawan Campaign Organisation.
On his part, Lawan, who showered encomium on all the PDP senators-elect who have endorsed him and agreed to vote for him, as well as the APC senators-elect and YPP senator-elect, expressed optimism that the team would get more endorsement before tomorrow.
He disclosed that between 35 and 39 PDP senators-elect have already endorsed his candidature and agreed to vote for him on Tuesday, just as he expressed pleasure over the court ruling in favour of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State.
While affirming that all the senators-elect were contacted individually, irrespective of their political affiliations, Lawan disclosed that “it was a conscious decision not to have their signature on the endorsement paper.”
According to Barau Jibril, secretary of the Campaign Organisation who announced the names, every senator-elect who signed the endorsement list “agreed to vote collectively on the 11th June, 2019, at the inauguration of the 9th Assembly.”
While noting that a total number of 64 senators-elect signed on the endorsement list, Jibril disclosed that two of the Zamfara senators-elect who signed have been sacked by the court, while “only two APC senators-elect are yet to sign.”
But Ndume said: “Well, I’ve said before that I am not looking for endorsement, but looking for votes on election day.
“You know clearly that there is the difference between endorsement and election. You would recall too that in 2015 that story of endorsement was canvassed.
“Lawan had the endorsement, but what happened on the floor of the Senate was different. This kind of thing has been there all along, we have seen endorsements against several elections. We are there already and shall become past in a question of hours from now.”