The Ninth National Assembly will be inaugurated today, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) National Working Committee has instructed all its Governors and Senators-Elect to vote for Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila are Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
President Muhammadu Buhari formally signed the bill to nullify May 29th as Democracy Day and make June 12th the official Democracy Day. The bill say May 29th will henceforth be handover day and a working day.
Major Nigerian Newspapers have more on these stories:
Punch Newspaper: 9th National Assembly: PDP backs Ndume, Bago as APC insists on Lawan, Gbajabiamila
The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress on Monday ordered all the party’s members-elect in the National Assembly to vote Senator Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively during the inauguration of the 9th federal legislature on Tuesday (today).
The NWC gave the directive after a meeting with the APC governors and its members-elect in the National Assembly in Abuja on Monday. This is as the Peoples Democratic party directed its members-elect to vote the former Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, and Umar Bago both of the APC, as the 9th National Assembly’s Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives, respectively.
The APC NWC’s meeting also endorsed Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and Idris Wase as Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker, respectively. Ndume from Borno State, who had also declared for the Senate President, was absent from the APC meeting. Among the contestants also absent from the APC meeting were Senator Francis Alimikhena, Kabiru Gaya and a former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.
Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, said, “We have all agreed as a caucus to endorse senator Lawan for Senate President and Senator Omo-Agege as the Deputy Senate President. “We have also agreed to endorse Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Wase as deputy speaker. These four are the APC nominees for the respective positions. The governors and members-elect were unanimous in adopting this position.” He thanked other aspirants for agreeing to step down despite being qualified to contest the positions in order to preserve the unity of the APC and the interest of the country at large.
Specifically, Oshiomhole thanked Senator Danjuma Goje from Gombe State for stepping down for Lawan and Senator Francis Alimikhena for assuring him to support Omo-Agege. He also thanked Senator Ajayi Boroffice (Ondo State), Olusegun Odebunmi and Nkiruika Onyejeocha among others for agreeing to step down for the party’s candidates. Oshiomhole noted that those that stepped down were eminently qualified to contest the positions. “They offered to step down as a mark of honour for the President and leadership of the party. They are all unanimous to back these candidates as the APC candidates for the good of the country,” he said.
Oshiomhole commended Lawan and Gbajabiamila for travelling the length and breadth of the country to woo members of the opposition in order to build bipartisan cooperation, which he noted, had been helpful to their course. “I believe together we will work to take Nigeria to the next level,” he said. Oshiomhole urged Ndume to respect the party’s position, which he said, was the position of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Guardian Newspaper: Fresh pressure as Buhari signs bill declaring June 12 Democracy Day
As Nigeria prepares to formally mark June 12 as the Democracy Day, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday assented to a bill nullifying May 29 previously set aside as a public holiday for the celebration.
The Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, told State House correspondents immediately after the signing that Buhari assented to the Public Holiday Amendment Bill to confer official recognition for June 12 as the Democracy Day. “May 29th will only be handover date and working day. By the Act amended and signed by Mr. President, May 29 is no more a public holiday. June 12 is now a public holiday and the country’s Democracy Day,” he said.
Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on the Federal Government to go the whole hog in honouring the late Chief Moshood Abiola as the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election. Regional groups and prominent stakeholders in the nation’s political space said the late Abiola should be declared president posthumously and all privileges awarded accordingly.
The officials of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) led by their chairman, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd), National Publicity Secretary of the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin and former President of the Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, asked the Federal Government to go beyond the celebration of June 12 as the Democracy Day and public holiday. They want the late Abiola to be officially declared the winner of the historic election adjudged to be the country’s fairest since independence.
The election was annulled by the then military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), who later admitted that he was under pressure from unnamed forces in the hierarchy of military leadership to do so.
Sun Newspaper: Lawan Vs Ndume: APC in fight of its life
The battle line is drawn as federal lawmakers-elect file out today for formal inauguration of the ninth National Assembly and election of principal officers. The event would mark the denouement of weeks of political tension, intrigues and horse-trading.
Indications that the crack in the camp of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has widened and that the session would live up to its billing as feisty and drama-soaked was further confirmed, yesterday, as former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, Kabiru Gaya and Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, shunned a high-profile meeting of the party and National Working Committee (NWC) members with their National Assembly members, yesterday.
The meeting was called to formally streamline arrangements and impress on Senators and House of Representatives members to support candidates of the party. The APC leadership had endorsed Ahmad Lawan as Senate president and Ovie Omo-Agege as deputy senate president and Femi Gbajabiamila as Speaker, House of Representatives and Ahmed Idris Wase as deputy Speaker.
Ndume and Bago are contesting for the office of senate president and House speaker respectively while Dr. Kalu and Gaya are contesting the deputy senate president. Others who had indicated interest to contest one position or the other at the meeting stepped down for the anointed candidates.Among them are Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, who had declared for the deputy senate president and Nkiruka Onyejiocha for Speaker, House of Representatives.
Though the APC top notchers kept details of the parley to their chest, it was gathered that they deliberated on how to avert a repeat of the 2015 scenario where the former senate president and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara pulled the rug off the feet of the party by clinching the seats ahead of Lawan and Gbajabiamila.
Party National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who addressed newsmen after the meeting called on Ndume to take a cue from Senator Danjuma Goje by stepping down for Lawan in the interest of the party. “Well, for now we are still trying to talk to Ali Ndume. I believe that he is a democrat. He understands that in a democracy, it is important that he listens to the voice of the majority and accept the decisions of the majority. I mean, it is all about sacrifice. “Like I said, I do not know of anybody who has been elected who is not qualified to become the senate president. Senators are equal. For those who have stepped down, they have done that in recognition of the fact that at a particular point in time, only one person will emerge and I believe that my dear friend, Senator Ali Ndume, will not be a lone ranger. “He will abide by the spirit of the party and he will respect our overall leader who is the president of our country, who is also the leader of our party.
I do not have any fear, I believe Ndume will accept the will of the majority. “All those that have stepped down as a mark of respect for the party leadership are all qualified and they are all unanimous to back the candidates of the party. It (meeting) is basically to firm up all the conversations and lobbying that have gone on and we have already had a meeting with specific conclusions. “We have all agreed, as a caucus, to endorse Lawan for the presidency of the senate and Omo-Agege for the deputy presidency of the senate,” he said.
Meanwhile, multiple sources in the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) confirmed to Daily Sun that the opposition party may take advantage of the crack in the ruling party and field a candidate for the position of the deputy president of the Senate. It is, however, not clear who the PDP will field if it decides to go ahead with its plans.