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Senate Presidency: Gemade Disagrees With Saraki Group, Claims Lawan Has Support of 40 APC Senators-Elect

Ayodele Afolabi , Abuja – As groups rooting for Senators Bukola Saraki ( APC Kwara Central) and Ahmad Lawan ( APC Yobe North) for senate president continue to tango, the Unity Forum group supporting Lawan, yesterday claimed to be having 40 senators of the All Progressives Congress (APC ) in its fold.

The group which earlier claimed to be having 37 out of the 59 APC senators-elect on its fold last Sunday , a day after the “Like Minds Senators” rooting for Saraki as Senate President, claimed to be having 35 out of the 59 APC senators in its fold.

Addressing journalists in the National Assembly yesterday, the Ahmad Lawan’s Senate Unity Forum group said it had the entire 13 APC senators-elect from the South-west, 20 APC senators- elect from the North-west while seven others were drawn from two other zones of the country.

According to Senator Barnabas Gemade, spokesman of the group, the Senate Unity Forum consists of senators-elect whom he said were united in a common force for the purpose of actualising the aspirations of Lawan (Yobe, North-east) and Senator George Akume (Benue, North-central) for the offices of Senate president and deputy Senate President respectively.

Gemade said the 40 senators had thrown their weight behind Lawan/Akume ticket because they were the most ranking and qualified senators to lead the 8th Senate.

He also said the group was not interested in publishing the list but will rather unveil the senators on Tuesday for all to see. The comment was obviously in reaction to the list comprising 34 APC senators-elect with their signatures being paraded by Lawan’s rival, Senator Bukola Saraki, under the aegis of Senators of Like Mind.

Saraki had on Tuesday showed the list of 34 APC senators with their signatures who are supporting his ambition to become the Senate president to the press, disclosing that he had equally sent the list to the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Oyegun. But the figures being paraded by both camps which amount to 75, overshoot the number of APC senators-elect, thus creating the impression that both camps are merely playing on figures.

It would be recalled that 60 senators-elect were elected on the platform of APC in March, but the number reduced to 59 penultimate weekend following the demise of Senator Ahmad Zannah (Borno Central).

However Gemade asked anyone doubting the authenticity of his group’s claim to wait till Tuesday when the entire 40 senators will be unveiled, insinuating that names and signatures could be concocted but people’s presence cannot be forged.

He also said some of them were currently on a trip.

Unfolding his agenda for the next Senate upon inauguration on June 9, if elected, Lawan said the Senate under his leadership would work assiduously to guarantee the independence of the legislature.

“Senate everywhere in the world is a stabilised chamber in any democracy. Thank God that I have been in the Senate for eight years after my eight-year sojourn in the House of Representatives.

Therefore, the Senate should be a place where the independence of the legislature is enhanced. We have had eight years of stability in the Senate. The eight Senate will build on that,” he said.

He also said the National Assembly under his leadership would co-operate with the executive to entrench good governance, promising to ensure that power tussle which can hamper effective governance is largely avoided if he becomes the next Senate president

He also promised to join forces with the president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, when he assumes office to fight corruption and simultaneously block leakages in the government, saying “cost of governance is very high while that of corruption is at intolerable level.”




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