All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers aspiring to presiding positions in the Senate and House of Representatives have intensified their campaigns ahead of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly.
Senators-elect on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have also said they will weigh the offers on the table from the three APC senators aspiring to become the Senate President before adopting one of them.
The Tide source learnt that the APC lawmakers had taken their campaigns beyond the National Assembly.
While some are lobbying newly elected members, others are reaching out to the APC National Working Committee and presidency.
The PDP senators, who spoke with The Tide source on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Senators Ahmed Lawan, Ali Ndume, and Danjuma Goje had been having regular discussions with them.
They also confirmed that they had given their terms and that the aspirants agreed to honour their part of the deal if elected.
Speaking to the source in a telephone interview, a source in the camp of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta-Central) said the lawmaker was lobbying the Presidency and the APC NWC after indications emerged that the Deputy Senate Presidency would be zoned to the South-South.
According to the source, “Omo-Agege has reached out to other critical stakeholders outside the chamber and he now has the full backing of the Presidential Villa and the National Chairman (of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole). The issue is settled. The Deputy Senate presidency has been zoned to the South-South; it is true.”
The source also said Omo- Agege’s only South-South opponent in the race for the Deputy Senate presidency, Senator Francis Alimikhena, is from the same local government area with Oshiomhole in Edo State, which would be considered in the zoning plan.
Omo-Agege neither confirmed nor denied the steps he was said to have taken to achieve his aim. “I’m reaching out like every other aspirant,” he said.
Another aspirant to the Deputy Senate presidency, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, also wrote to senators-elect to congratulate them on their victory at the polls and sought their support for his ambition.
Boroffice, representing Ondo North Senatorial District, is one of the three ranking senators from the South-West to be in the 9th Senate.
In the letter, the lawmaker partly wrote: “With an excellent public service record, rich legislative experience and amiable personae, I consider myself the best candidate for the office of the Deputy Senate President.
“In spite of our different backgrounds, religious beliefs and political inclinations, the business of national lawmaking has pulled us together as friends and colleagues. I humbly seek your cooperation, support and prayers in this election. Together, we shall succeed.”
In the House, an aspirant from Oyo State, Mr Olusegun Odebunmi, who is Gbajabiamila’s only opponent in the South-West, hinted that he was reaching out to northern states.
When contacted on the telephone earlier on Tuesday, Odebunmi said: “As I am talking to you now, I am on my way from Katsina State and it is about my project. I won’t make the details public for now.”
Efforts to contact him since Tuesday to speak more on his campaign were not successful as the lawmaker did not return calls to comment.
Meanwhile, another aspirant from Niger State (North-Central), Mr Mohammed Bago, last Saturday visited the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, to seek his support.
A statement by spokesman for the Bago Campaign Organisation, Mr Victor Ogene, quoted Oba Ogunwusi as saying that to avoid a lacuna in the administration of the country, youths must be encouraged to assume leadership.
“Yes, we now have a ‘Not-too-young-to-run’ law but to complement that, we need to consciously bring the youths into leadership positions,” the Ooni was quoted as saying.
However, the PDP senators-elect, who spoke with one of our correspondents last Saturday, said a recent statement by the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, on the issue appeared to have affected their relationships with the aspirants.
Oshiomhole had said that the leaders who would emerge on his party’s platform in the 9th National Assembly would not share power with the PDP lawmakers, who he called “the devils”.
A PDP senator-elect from the South-West, who spoke on condition of anonymity: told The Tide source “Oshiomhole seems to have truncated the discussions we have had with the aspirants. I was one of those who argued that the PDP should not produce a candidate for the presiding positions after listening to the APC aspirants.
“The three of them have good programmes and agenda, but it appears that the APC leadership would have an overwhelming influence on the chamber, which is supposed to be independent.”
Tambuwal Tasks NASS On Electoral Reforms
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has called on the leadership and members of the National Assembly (NASS) to consider electoral reforms and constitutional amendment.
“As a matter of urgency NASS should consider starting the process of electoral reforms and constitutional amendments in the interest of the nation,” Tambuwal pleaded.
The Governor made the plea on Wednesday in Sokoto when he received the EU Ambassador and Head of delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Ketil Karsen, who visited him in Government House Sokoto.
Tambuwal said that the process would no doubt ensure that all the new innovations introduced in the current electoral process were captured constitutionally.
The Governor further said that the process would give legal framework that would go along in strengthening and deepening the nation’s democracy.
Amb. Karsen said he had come to dialogue with Tambuwal on various issues including security situation in the Northwest part of Nigeria.
He said that during their discussions Tambuwal informed him of the efforts being made by the Governors of the zone to curtail the menace of banditry and insecurity.
Karsen explained that peace effort provided opportunity for development pointing out that their discussions also focused on development challenges in Sokoto state and future support of EU to the state.
The Ambassador further said that they also discussed the need for early reform of the electoral act with discussions centered on how to deepen and consolidate the nation’s democracy.
He further said their discussions focused on general health, education, environment, women and gender streamlining among others.
NASS Ready To Work For Nigerians -Lawan
The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, has said that with the recent constitution of the standing committees, the ninth National Assembly (NASS) is more prepared to work for Nigerians.
Lawan made the promise in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Ola Awoniyi, in Abuja yesterday.
The statement quoted Lawan making the remark at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, shortly on his return from this year’s Hajj (pilgrimage) to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, in the early hours of the day.
He was said to have been received on arrival by Senators Barau Jibrin, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele and his Deputy Chief of Staff, Mohammed Karage.
He said: “The ninth National Assembly has been properly constituted, especially with our committees in place.
“We are ready, we are willing, we are capable, we are enhanced to work as an institution, to ensure that we provide those ingredients and inputs that the executive would want for it to implement laudable projects to develop the country.”
Lawan departed Abuja on August 5 to perform the Hajj, the first since his emergence as the President of the Senate.
In his company were Senators Sahabi Alhaji Ya’u (Deputy Minority Whip), Teslim Folarin, Bello Mandiya, Ajibola Bashiru and Sani Musa.
The statement said Lawan was full of gratitude to God for the opportunity to be part of the over 60,000 Nigerians that participated in the pilgrimage.
“We prayed for our country to achieve optimal security, to have stability, peace and progress.
“We prayed for the National Assembly too. It is our prayer that the ninth National Assembly will be one to work for Nigerians and for the benefit of those who voted for us.
“Nigerians in Saudi Arabia came together with other Muslims worldwide to pray for global peace. I’m sure that with the message that we heard as part of this year’s pilgrimage and Eid generally, is a message of sacrifice, brotherhood and unity.
“Nigerians should thank God that we are still together, as such we should work to ensure that the unity of this country is not compromised,” Lawan said.
The president of the senate urged Nigerians to continue to pray for their leaders, pointing out that “leaders are meant to serve the people, and no leader would like to deliberately fail to perform.
“Also, in times of challenges like we are going through presently, Nigerians should continue to be behind their leaders with prayers and support, backed by understanding, and by the Grace of God, Nigeria will reach those great heights that for long we have prayed for”.
Lawan reiterated his appeal to the executive arm of government on the need to be on the same page with the NASS to reverse “the undesirable trend of the current budget cycle in Nigeria”.
“We need to work for a budget that will be passed by the National Assembly by December.
“That requires that we work assiduously with the executive arm of government, to have the budget laid before the National Assembly by the end of September, and for the National Assembly to lock up the whole of October this year for budget defence, so that it can be processed and passed before we go on Christmas break.
“It is doable, it is achievable and attainable.
“I’m sure if we are able to achieve that, Nigeria’s economy will witness a boost. Businesses in Nigeria will have something predictable to work with.
“I believe that together with the executive arm of government, we should be able to do this, as this is fundamental to us in the National Assembly, and I’m sure the executive arm is also looking forward to that,” Lawan said.
Rep Draws FG’s Attention To Constituency Roads
A member of the House of Representatives, Mr Ganiyu Johnson, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to fix some major roads in Oshodi/Isolo area of Lagos State.
Ganiyu, who represents Oshodi/Isolo 2 Federal Constituency, made this appeal in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
He said some major roads in his constituency including Mushin and Okota roads were in deplorable state, thus hindering movement and causing hardships to people in the area.
“I am calling on the Federal Government to help fix Mushin road linking the Lagos State Polytechnic to the NNPC.
“The NNPC depot is in Ejigbo, motorists haul no fewer than 350 trucks through that road daily and the situation has always been very chaotic.
“Since there is an NNPC depot in Ejigbo, I am appealing to the federal government to take responsibility of upgrading that road and the bridge across.
“If that is done, there will be some relief because you can hardly drive on that road without a breakdown and there is always a gridlock in that corridor.
“The federal government should also intervene on Okota road by rehabilitating it from Pako to Cele to ease movements on the road,” he said.
Johnson lauded the state government for the dual carriageway on Isolo road, saying the intervention had improved the flow of traffic on the road.
The lawmaker added the state government’s intervention on Airport Road was good for the image of the country, as it would give visitors a good impression.
Johnson, a former commissioner for works in the state, called for the dredging of a major canal in the area to address the problem of perennial flooding.
‘The canal is supposed to be an asset to our constituency but today, as I speak, it is a death trap.
“Once there is a downpour, everywhere is flooded. So what we are pushing for is that they should dredge the canal, so that we will be able to have enough headroom.
“So that all the estates in the area including those in Ejigbo that are usually sacked by flooding will have a new lease of life.
“We can also dredge the canal for water transportation to move people from Ejigbo to Lagos via Mile 2,” he said.
The lawmaker said he would on his part, intervene in the fixing of some inner roads in the area as part of his constituency projects.
He assured the people of the area a quality representation at the House of Representatives, saying he would work hard for the progress of his constituency.
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