Inside Nigeria

Senate Presidency: Osinbajo Steps in, Meets Ali Ndume

Ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) is not leaving any stone unturned in its battle to produce the Senate President of the 9th National Assembly. Still dazed by the NASS leadership coup of the 8th NASS, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo swung into action Monday with a meeting with rebel Senator Ali Ndume behind closed doors.

Ndume, a former Senate Leader and senator representing Borno South at the National Assembly, is keen on contesting for Senate President against the wishes of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), which favours Ahmed Lawan, Yobe North senator. Lawan was also the party’s choice in 2015, but he eventually lost out to Bukola Saraki, who stunned his party men by entering an alliance with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to report, Ndume arrived at the Vice President’s office at about 2:30pm, and refrained from saying anything to the media.

Ndume has so far rebuffed all attempts of the party leadership, including that of Bola Tinubu, National Leader, to convince him to shelve his ambition for Lawan.

Over the weekend, some pro-Lawan senators were in Maiduguri, Borno State, in an attempt to persuade Governor Kashim Shettima, believed to be one of Ndume’s top backers, to have a rethink. But on getting wind of the visit, the Governor travelled out of town.

Meanwhile, Senator Ndume  said that he is not relying on the support of his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party, as he seeks to become president of the ninth Senate insisting that  he would not step down for any opponent, but that he was still consulting on the matter..

With only 61 days to the election of a new president for the 9th Senate, one key contestant, Senator Mohammed Ali-Ndume, denied on Monday that he entered an alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party to help him clinch the seat.

Ali-Ndume, who arrived the closed-door meeting about 3.24pm, emerged from the venue around 4.18pm, declining to give any elaborate interview to waiting State House correspondents.

But the reporters still asked him whether he had yielded to pressure from the APC to step down for the preferred party choice, Senator Ahmed Lawan.

With a look of surprise on his face, Ali-Ndume responded, “Me, step down? I am still consulting.”

On the rumours that he was banking on forging an alliance with the PDP, Ali-Ndume ruled it out on the grounds that the opposition considered him to be an “enemy.”

He stated, “Me that is regarded as enemy by opposition?”

Ali-Ndume had once been a member of the PDP, but he later defected to the APC ahead of the 2015 polls.

He won a re-election to the Senate this year on the platform of the APC to serve in the incoming 9th National Assembly.

Aside from Lawan, Senator Danjuma Goje and Senator Abdullahi Adamu have also been mentioned to be vying to become the successor to Senator Bukola Saraki as the next President

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