A crisis is brewing in the Senate caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over plots to endorse the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, as the consensus presidential candidate of the parliament.
According to Daily Trust, Lawan, who has been at the National Assembly since 1999, is set to formally declare for the presidency this week.
It is understood that ahead of the Yobe-born-lawmaker’s declaration, there were plans to declare him as the consensus candidate of the Senate.
The move, it was gathered, was being promoted by some of his allies in the parliament including Senator Yusuf Yusuf (APC, Taraba), Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger) and a former lawmaker, Senator Abdullahi Gumel.
The development has, however, polarised the parliament, which is made of 71 APC, 37 PDP and one YPP member.
Many of the lawmakers are said to have pitched tents with other aspirants.
For instance, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno), is leading the campaign for Amaechi, Senator Kashim Shettima (APC, Borno) is playing a leading role in Tinubu’s campaign, while Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano) is in charge of the campaigns of the vice president.
Aside from these three, there are other lawmakers who are involved in the campaigns of other aspirants, thus the moves to present Lawan as the consensus candidate has been hanging in the balance.
In a phone interview, Senator Ali Ndume said he has not been contacted by those promoting Lawan’s candidature, saying “They have not come because they know my position.
“I have nothing against Ahmad Lawan; he is my colleague but I have everything against injustice. I won’t support even my biological brother. Fielding a northerner is tantamount to injustice and tantamount to a third term. The so-called northern elders that are pushing it are doing so to perpetuate injustice.
“It’s the turn of the South and we have to support them to actualise this. I’m disappointed with those that are pushing this. I had since taken position even before my alignment with Amaechi,” he said.
Another lawmaker, while puncturing the claims that Lawan is under intense pressure to join the race for the presidency, said the project was “The brainchild of Lawan and his few allies.
“It is untrue that he is being pushed by northern elders. He is pushing himself; otherwise, tell them to mention the northern elders. Who are they?
“It is purely his aspiration and nobody is pushing him, rather he is pushing people to key into the project. They are planning to present him as the Senate consensus candidate and we are going to outrightly and publicly resist being railroaded into this failed project,” the lawmaker said.
But a lawmaker in Lawan’s camp insisted that the Senate president was being pressured to join the race by northern elders.
Asked to mention some of the northern elders pushing the Senate President, he said, “It is not for public consumption. I’m one of them. Am I not an elder at over 70 and I have been in politics for over four decades?”
Another lawmaker in the Senate president’s camp said “Lawan is one of us and we will do all possible within our reach to support him. He is one of us.”