President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have endorsed the Senate Leader of the outgoing 8th National Assembly, Senator Ahmed Lawan, as the next Senate president.
Feelers from the dinner the president held for governors and senators-elect on Monday night at the presidential villa, Abuja, showed that both Buhari and the APC are more favourably disposed to Lawan’s leadership of the Senate than Senator Ali Ndume.
It was learnt that Buhari and the APC opted for Lawan because of his loyalty to the party and the Buhari administration as well as his political maturity.
Apparently to avoid any unnecessary altercations, which marred the relationship between the National Assembly and the Executive arm of government during the 8th Assembly, the president and the APC reportedly prefer Lawan to other contestants because he is seen as a bridge builder and an ardent follower of Buhari.
Although some lawmakers have either pitched their tents with Lawan or Ndume, the presidency and the APC have insisted on Lawan.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has described some actions and decisions of the 8th National Assembly as regrettable.
The president spoke on Monday night when he hosted state governors and senators-elect of the APC to a dinner at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari particularly cited the deliberate and persistent delay in passing the annual budget by the National Assembly.
He, therefore, challenged the incoming 9th NASS to do things differently, especially from the outgoing 8th Senate to enable his administration to achieve its goal of transforming the country.
Buhari said: “This is my fifth and last time of standing for an election -for that reason, I’ll like to leave something behind. And what I want to leave cannot be successfully done without your support.
“That is why I’m seeking your support. What happened in the last Senate and so on is regrettable because I still feel it shouldn’t take seven months to pass a budget. You have a very serious job ahead of you.
“So, what I’m appealing for is that any major decision you are going to take, please reflect more on the country than on yourself- what effect will it have on the country,’’ he said.
The president promised to work with the 9th NASS in promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in the country.
In an interaction with State House correspondents after the meeting, Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, said that the meeting reviewed what happened in 2015 and the lessons learnt.
He said: “We took a step back to 2015 and reviewed what happened in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Now, we want to go as one APC family notwithstanding our brothers from the other party.
“We are now talking about Nigeria first. The president requested that we all work for the betterment of Nigeria. As regards the leadership, the president requested that we work hand-in-hand to ensure that we come out as one family so that what belongs to the majority goes to the majority and what belongs to minority goes to the minority,” Yari said.
On his part, the Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, said that the meeting was a “right step in the right direction”.
According to him, “what the president has done, I think is the right step in the right direction. The last time we did not have the opportunity of this politics but now, Mr. President invited us. Because, we are governors and we also dialogue with our senators,” he said