By Danladi Al-Hassan
Senator Ahmed Lawan, the Senate Leader, has stated that he bears no ill feelings towards Ali Ndume or Danjuma Goje, over the trio’s declaration for the Senate Presidency seat in the ninth National Assembly.
Lawan, who had been endorsed by the ruling all Progressives Congress (APC) for the position, made the remark when he was a guest at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.
The APC has zoned the Senate President’s slot to the North East where the trio of Lawan (Yobe North), Ndume (Borno South) and Goje (Gombe Central) hail from.
However, Ndume and Goje both members of APC have stood their grounds on vying for the number one seat of the Senate.
”I want to thank my party and my leaders for having confidence in me.
”I want to assure everyone very seriously because it is a burden that my party feels I can carry.
”By the grace of God and with the support of my colleagues in the APC, PDP and YPP in the Senate, we should be able to deliver that burden very well.
”I have no hard feelings against my brothers from the north east contesting.
”What the party and the leaders did was to say I have been recommended or I have been endorsed.
”That is a preference; that the party has a preference is not to say that others cannot do the job.
”But definitely, the party, our leaders have some reasons why they think we are most suitable for this job,” Lawan said.
The lawmaker, however, said the decision of his colleagues to contest the position with him was constitutional.
“But this is democracy; you cannot shut out somebody if that person feels he has the right to run and of course, the constitution allows for that.
“But definitely, the party and the leaders have spoken and we are not resting on our oars.
“We are going from door to door; we are talking to all the senators-elect. We talk to the APC senators, PDP senators and YPP senator, believing that we are going to work with them.
“Therefore, we need to bridge the gap and we need to know ourselves even before we get there,’’ he said.
Lawan said the effort is yielding fruits because “majority of the senators feel that really we have something to offer and that by the grace of God when we are able to make it, we can, together, work out that desirous legislative interventions of the time for the executive to have something to work on.
“So we are glad that we are working with majority of our colleagues across party lines.
“In fact, APC senators, almost everyone is on this project and we have sat and spoken and talked one-on-one.
“So many PDP senators are in support of this project. In fact, YPP is fully onboard, Sen. Ifeanyi Uba from Anambra. And we believe that this is the way to go,’’ he said.
He called on his colleagues to collaborate with him in helping “the next administration deliver on those things that everybody in this country is yearning for.’’
“And I believe no senator will turn his or her position against those issues that unite us.
“We have achieved much in terms of fighting insurgency, though we still have some security challenges. No senator will vote against that, every senator will vote for that.
“We want the economy to work for everybody from those at the lowest level of the ladder to those who are entrepreneurs, who will create employment opportunities.
“We believe that we have to find jobs for our teaming youth. Unemployment is one challenge that we have to deal with.
“And as a legislature, we are prepared to go all the way with the executive arm of government to ensure that we reduce the level of unemployment in the county.
“Perhaps, that will also help us in indirectly dealing with the security situation,’’ he said.
Senator Lawan said if elected, the senate would ensure that public funds were judiciously utilised through its oversight function.
“We want to see public funds being properly applied and deployed, we want to see less of embezzlement or no embezzlement of public funds.
“This is because sometimes not the quantum of funds that you have but how you are able to ensure proper and prudent deployment of those resources that matters.
“We had so much resources in the past but bulk of those resources were embezzled,’’ he said.
He noted that though the present government had fewer resources available to it than previous governments, it was able to deliver more dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
“You know that today in this country from 2015, we have more projects, physically identifiable and measurable projects across this country with the less resources.
“This is so because corruption has been reduced in the country,’’ he remarked.
According to him, before, corruption was almost a virtue and some people will never mention it, even in government circuit.
“So we believe that, collectively, we can do a lot of those things that Nigerians will have some relief and some succour, and life becomes much better than it is.
“So we want to go the whole way and I believe that anyone who wants to run is free to run but at the end of the day, my colleagues, by the grace of God, will decide that we have the day,’’ he stated.