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Ndume Defies APC, Unveils Agenda to Contest Senate Presidency

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Senator Ali Ndume Tuesday defied the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Leadership’s instruction, as he unveiled his agenda as the candidate for Senate Presidency in the incoming 9th National Assembly (NASS).

Recall that the ruling party’s leadership at a stakeholders’ meeting, had last week, endorsed the present Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, as its preferred candidate for the number three position.

Senator Ndume’s insistence on contesting is apparently hinged on his allegation that the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole single handedly endorsed his colleague – Senator Lawan as the party’s anointed candidate, without the knowledge of other key hierarchy within the ruling political party.

Lawan and Ndume are both from Borno State, North East Nigeria. Both are also known to be ardent supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In his nine-point agenda as unveiled in Abuja, Senator Ndume promised to improve on the performance of the outgoing 8th Senate.

The former Senate Leader made somewhat an impressive pledged when said he would make the office of the Senate President less attractive by reducing the unnecessary privileges attached to it.

He pledged to uphold the independence of the legislature and expressed his willingness to “work harmoniously and inter-dependently with the executive without undermining the principle of separation of powers.”

Ndume’s agenda also indicated that he would prioritise and ensure the passage of the Constituency Development Bill so as to make “constituency projects more transparent, accountable, efficient and effective.”

In addition, the Borno Legislator said the Senate would agree on timelines for confirmation, passage of bills especially the annual budgets, promising that, it would not exceed 90 days from the day of submission.

“We will make laws that will block leakages devise improved means of generating revenue, especially through the amendment and review of our tax laws which will help to reduce reliance on local and foreign loans to finance budget.

“We will run the 9th Senate transparently, through open accountability with full participation of all senators .For example, we will transfer the approving powers of the privileges of the senators like foreign travels, allowances to Senate services committee or a new committee to be known as “ways and means committee’’ Ndume pledged.

Meanwhile, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Lanre Isa-Onilu, has faulted  Ndume’s action, contending that his (Ndume’s ticket) belongs to the APC, therefore would not be condoned to work with the opposition to give what belongs to it to the opposition, just like it happened in 2015 – when the position of the Deputy Senate President was given to the opposition by some desperate former members of the ruling APC.

“Ndume will be wrong to be calling out the party’s National Chairman. The National Chairman spoke on behalf of the party. And when we talk of the party in this instance, it is not just about the NWC.

“President (Muhammadu Buhari) was there when he said it. He did not say anything that the President was not aware of. He did not say anything that the leaders of the APC are not already part of.”

He however, disclosed that the party hierarchy would meet and take a decision on Senator Ndume’s declaration. He expressed hope that the matter would be amicably resoved, just as negotiaton is ongoing.

The first opposition – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reacted to the mild tussle within its rival party.

PDP National Chairman Prince Uche Secondus, observed that the APC was yet to take any decision on who to support.

“We believe in multiplicity of ideas. Democracy is having more than one option. Though consensus is part of democracy, when that is not achievable, every contestant or interested person must be allowed to test their popularity. That is the beauty of democracy.

“It is wrong to force lawmakers or coerce them to follow a particular road or a particular candidate who they do not have confidence in. The President and his party should not plant moles as the leaders of the National Assembly’’ Secondus stated.

 

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