Senator Ahmad Lawan will garner more than two-thirds of the votes on the inauguration day of the ninth Senate, polling not less than 73 votes from both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to emerge as the Senate president.
This was disclosed by the spokesman of his campaign organisation, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, in Abuja, on Wednesday, while he also promised that Lawan would run an all-inclusive administration if elected.
Speaking with newsmen, Abdullahi said given the track records of Senator Lawan as an opposition member of National Assembly for 16 years, he understood the feelings of the opposition and would not abuse the privileges if elected.
According to him, Lawan, who is the anointed candidate of the APC for the position of number three citizen, was leaving no stone unturned in talking to his colleagues across party lines.
“I want to submit and assure Nigerians that by the special grace of God, if Senator Ahmad Lawan gets there, he will run an all-inclusive government because the Senate is that of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The 109 senators are individual senators representing the various senatorial districts in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
They have inalienable rights to be heard and listened to for government to work for them, no matter our differences and the sentiments that we share.
“I know that given the track records of Senator Lawan in his 16 years of being in the National Assembly, he understands the feelings of the opposition, because he was one of them before and he will not abuse that privilege.
“The notion from the PDP side that they would be excluded should be withdrawn forthwith. What we are planning to do is to have a Senate that will be for all senators,” he said.
The lawmaker said the campaign team of Senator Lawan had been engaging all senators-elect one-on-one, adding that “we are talking to our colleagues, working on our colleagues who will vote on the floor of the Senate on the day of inauguration.
By the grace of God, so far so good, we are very much convinced, based on the reception that is being accorded our campaigns, we have been able to reach a lot of our colleagues except those who are outside the country.”
In a related development, a civil society group, Centre for Policy Advocacy and Leadership Development (CPALD), said on Wednesday that the position by the APC, which zeroed in on Lawan as the candidate for the Senate president seat in the ninth Senate, was in line with international best practices.
The group, in a statement signed by its Director of Democracy and Governance, Joe Mesele, said stakeholders in the Senate needed to align with the party’s position on the decision.
“We at the Centre for Policy Advocacy and Leadership Development, alongside 10 of our sister civil society organisations, hereby unequivocally state that we are on the same page in advancing the course of democracy in Nigeria and, therefore, view the development as welcome, because it’s in line with international parliamentary best practices.
“Lawan is, therefore, without sentiments, eminently qualified to hold the position. The people criticising the APC for taking the position of supporting Senator Lawan are simply ignorant of parliamentary ethics and norms the world over,” the statement read.
The group also called for open balloting system in the Senate election, adding that such a measure would ensure transparency.