With about 72 hours to inauguration of the 9th National Assembly, one of the major contenders for President of the Senate, Senator Danjuma Goje and 60 other senators-elect, have endorsed Senator Ahmad Lawan.
The Secretary of the Ahmad Lawan campaign group, Senator Barau Jibrin, announced this on Saturday in Abuja at the unveiling of more endorsement of senators-elect.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Goje on Thursday stepped down for Senator Ahmad Lawan.
Announcing the names of the senators-elect, Barau said of the 61 persons that endorsed Lawan, 60 were from the All Progressives Congress while one was from Young Progressives Party.
Barau disclosed that the Independent National Electoral Commission had cleared 107 of the 109 senators-elect expected to form the ninth senate.
He said from the number, there were 62 APC senators-elect, 44 Peoples Democratic Party and one from YPP.
He further disclosed that the two outstanding seats in Imo were yet to be determined by INEC.
He said: “Although, Lawan has overwhelming support of PDP senators-elect, for some obvious reasons they did not append their signatures but they are with us.”
The Chairman Ahmad Lawan Campaign Group, SenAROE Yahaya Abdullahi, thanked the senators-elect who endorsed Lawan for believing in what he would offer if voted in.
He said contrary to the impression that Lawan was a rigid person; he was only a quiet person.
According to him, besides having a rich curriculum vitae, he has a likeable personality that endears people to him.
He said: “When I became a senator in 2015, I was in his corner because I know him. Some people say he is not a good person because he is arrogant, no he is not.
“He wants fair argument and he caves in when you have a superior argument, we will support him with all our heart.
“We all know how the defeat was inflicted on us in 2015. The truth of the matter is that if some of us were in the chamber when the election was held, the position of the deputy senate president would not have gone where it went because we were 40 that were at the International Conference Centre.
“We took it as it came and did not pick unnecessary fight and we made our contribution for things to happen.”
Yahaya attributed the level of success achieved by the team to early start.
According to him, his colleagues were immediately called after the general election to begin consultations with major stakeholders and were lucky to have the endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari and the party.
He said: “There has never been a time senators-elect were unanimous in support. We concentrated more on APC though we have support from PDP.
“I am happy u have not let us down and I have never achieved this level of success. Thank you for your support.”
Abdullahi assured that the group support would not be taken for granted.
Responding, Senator Lawan said he was elated when the list of endorsement was read out.
He also thanked the PDP and YPP senators-elect for endorsing him and promised to live up to expectation.
He said: “The highest moment of this occasion was when the list was read out. Mine is to say thank you. I want to thank PDP senators, some who have openly identified with us and others too, for working for us.
“Out of the 44 PDP senators-elect, we cannot have less than 38. So I pay special tribute to them and I look forward to a time we will sit like this.
“APC has 62 senators-elect, PDP-44, with two outstanding in Imo, while YPP is one. Of the 62 APC senators, two did not sign.
“We will carry everybody along and we are not prepared to fail. Between today and Monday, we are likely to have more endorsements.
“I want to clear we are not an imposition. People wrote their names and signed personally.
“We have been working hard, talking to all senators-elect and we got to know them better doing that and they have something to bring to the table that will make the senate do well.
“For the press, your reports and criticisms are taken in good faith and we hope to work together to have a senate that will work for Nigerians.”
According to Lawan, with mounting insecurity and the need for employment and education, especially in Northern Nigeria, they are ready to work to find lasting solution to Nigeria’s challenges.
Highpoint of the event was presentation of the original copy of the endorsement.
Meanwhile, the names of the APC senators-elect include Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central), Barau Jibrin (Kano North), Francis Alimikhena (Edo North), Solomon Adeola (Lagos West), Aliyu Abdullahi (Niger North), Olubunmi Adetumbi (Ekiti North), Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East).
Others are Robert Borrofice (Ondo North), Sadiq Umar (Kwara North), Yakubu seni (Kogi Central), Adelere Orilowo (Osun West), Biobarakuma Degi-Eremenyo (Bayelsa East), Bulus Amos (Gombe South).
They include Hezekia Dimka (Plateau Central), Ignatius Longstan (Plateau South), Halliru Jika (Bauchi Central), Kabiru Gaya (Kano South), Ajibola Basiru (Osun Central), Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), Umaru Al-Makura (Nasarawa South).
Danladi Sankara (Jigawa NorthWest), Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia (Jigawa North East), Kashim Shettima (Borno Central), Sabo Mohammed (Jigawa South-West), Godiya Akwashuki (Nasarawa North), Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central) also endorsed him.
Furthermore, Buhari Abdulfatai (Oyo North), Adedayo Adeyeye (Ekiti South), Bello Mandiya (Katsina South), Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), Bala Ibn Na’Allah (Kebbi South), Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (Taraba Central), Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central), David Umaru (Niger East, Isah Jibrin (Kogi East) signed the list.
Suleiman Abdu Kwari (Kaduna North), Ashiru Yisa (Kwara South), Ibrahim Geidam (Yobe East), Ahmad Babba Kaita (Katsina North), Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra South), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto North), Lawal Yahaya (Bauchi South), A.M. Bulkachuwa (Bauchi North) are not left out.
Some are Ashiru Ahmed (Adamawa Central), Michael Bamidele (Ekiti Central), Olalekan Mustapha (Ogun East), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun Central), Abubakar Kyari (Borno North)Teslim Folarin (Oyo Central) Uba Sani (Kaduna Central), Abubakar Shehu (Sokoto South).
Others are Tolu Odebiyi (Ogun West) , Orji Uzor-Kalu (Abia North), Kabir Barkiya (Katsina Central), Bima Muhammad Enagi (Niger South), Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano Central), Ibrahim Oloriegbe (Lagos East), Osinowo Adebayo (Lagos East), Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central), Saidu Alkali (Gombe North), Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North).
However, in a different development, Senator Ali Ndume, the only known contender in the race, said in an interview that Lawan had endorsement but he would have the votes on that day.
He said: “Well, I have said before that I am not looking for endorsement but looking for votes on election day.
“You know clearly that there is the difference between endorsement and election. You would recall too that in 2015 that story of endorsement was canvassed.
“He has the endorsement but what happened on the floor of the Senate was different. This kind of thing has been there all along, we have seen endorsements against several elections.
“We are there already and shall become a thing of the past in a question of hours from now.”
For the position of the Deputy President of the Senate, Senatoe Ovie Omo-Agege expressed optimism that he would emerge winner on June 9.
He said he was optimistic because he had the support of the president and the party.