Ezra Odogu, Abuja
As the race for the leadership of the 9th National Assembly continues, a total of 1,057 Support Groups have thrown their backing behind the ambitions of Senator Ali Ndume to emerge as the next senate president.
This development is coming following the decisions of the current and incoming senators to make their own choices without the pressure from external sources, particularly the leadership of the ruling party.
Speaking on Saturday in Abuja, Leader of the Coalition of Independent Support for Ali Ndume, Hon Usman Ibrahim, said without any doubt that Senator Ali Ndume remains the best choice to become Nigeria’s next senate president.
He expressed displeasure that the leadership of the APC was talking with the opposition PDP members in the senate, just to have its so called preferred candidate clinch the positions of senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives.
Insisting on internal democracy and a free election of leaders for the senate and the national assembly, Ibrahim said the party has enough majority in the senate to peacefully choose its legislative leaders, without having to compromise with the opposition.
According to Ibrahim who is also the National Coordinator of Muhammadu Osinbanjo Dynamic Support Group, “all senators-elect from the 36 states and the FCT are on the side of Ali Ndume (APC, Borno Central) as Senate president because of his starling qualities”.
Describing Ndume as a ranking senator, a highly principled legislator and a trustworthy lawmaker who fought for the survival of democracy in the National Assembly and Nigeria at large, the NBO dynamic support group national coordinator said the exercise of choosing the next senate president should ordinarily be a payback time to Ndume, who has remained a loyal and committed party man through thick and thin.
He said it was important for President Muhammadu Buhari to secure the support of the 9th National Assembly in order to actualize his lofty ideas for the next level, adding this could only be achieved with the like of Ndume at the helm of affairs in the Red Chamber.
Going down memory lane, he explained that Ndume became the Senate leader in 2015 alongside the likes of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate president, but that Ndume refocused his qualities to the party and the country, when Saraki and others meant a different thing for the system.
“Ndume revolted and stood for the truth and that was why they stripped him of the position and suspended him for too long. Ndume was not deterred; he won his way back to the Senate and remained highly principled. He means well for Nigeria, he means well for the APC-led government. I want all the legislators to set sentiments aside and vote for credibility,” the support group leader said.
With lots of legislative experience going for the position of senate president, Ibrahim said it would be recalled that Ali Ndume was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2003 and got re-elected in 2007 when he held the position of minority leader of the House up till 2011 before he proceeded to the Senate.
“Ndume was never found wanting and that is why his people continued to give him the mandate. He sponsored the highest number of bills during the 8th Senate; he is the right man for the job of the Senate president.
“We should collectively support him to get the seat because he knows the workings of the legislature, he knows the workings of government and the system needs someone like him to deliver,” the national coordinator added.