Nigeria’s Parliament elects Ahmad Lawan as Senate President, others

Lawan who had the backing of the president scored 79 votes to defeat fellow party member, Senator Ali Ndume.
Nigeria's Parliament elects Ahmad Lawan as Senate President, others

Senators in Nigeria’s upper parliament have elected Senator Ahmad Lawan representing Yobe North as the new President of the Nigerian Senate.

Lawan who has the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress was overwhelmingly voted with 79 votes defeating fellow party member, Senator Ali Ndume representing Borno South, who despite the backing of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party got 28 votes.

107 senators-elect were present at the inauguration of the 9th Senate out of a statutory 109.

Senators were jubilant after Lawan’s declaration by Clerk of the National Assembly, Sani Omolori at the Tuesday inaugural proceeding in the country’s capital, Abuja. It had in attendance governors of various states, observers and top bureaucrats in the Buhari administration.

Intense lobbying and horse-trading –

Senator representing Delta Central in the APC surprisingly emerged as Deputy Senate President after defeating immediate past Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu of the PDP, in a keenly contested election. Omo-Agege got 68 votes while Ekweremadu had 37 votes.

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Ekweremadu, a former Chairman of the ECOWAS Parliament, had been Nigeria’s Deputy Senate President for twelve years since 2007.

Omo-Agege emerged despite the last minute alliances between opposition Peoples Democratic Party and some elements of the ruling party, APC.

“Congratulations to the new Senate President of the 9th National Assembly, Ahmed Lawan,” said ruling party chairman, Adams Oshiomole in a tweet.

After the emergence of the Deputy Senate President from the ruling party unlike in recent past, Oshiomhole tweeted another congratulatory message “Victory at last. Victory for everyone. #NASS #NASSElection #9thAssembly”

US urges lawmakers to tackle insecurity, national challenges –

Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy, Kathleen FitzGibbon, who was in parliament during the election called on the new leadership of the National Assembly to help towards tacking insecurity in Nigeria.

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“We wish and hope that the National Assembly can get to work as soon as possible to solve some of the critical issues in the country like insecurity, development among others.” FitzGibbon who represented U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington told the News Agency of Nigeria in an interview. “I am sure everybody here is looking forward to doing just that.”

“APC have the Senate President and the Deputy Senate President they wanted. Leaves zero room for stories and excuses. I hope Mr. President will send his list of ministers immediately. There is no need to waste time over a list that won’t surprise anyone,” popular blogger Japheth Omojuwa said in a tweet.

Other Nigerians are tasking the re-elected government and ruling party to deliver on its campaign promises focused on providing security, boosting economy and fighting corruption.

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The House of Representatives was still voting at the time of this report. Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila and Ahmad Wase of the ruling All Progressives Congress are expected to emerge as Speaker and Deputy Speaker after endorsements by party officials and fellow lawmakers. Umar Bago is opposing the duo.

Unlike in 2015 when the ruling APC shared power with opposition PDP in the position of Deputy Senate President, the situation has changed due to the direct intervention of President Buhari and top party officials who, on the eve of the election, read out a riot act to lawmakers on the need to toe party line.

By protocol arrangements, the Senate President is the number three citizen of Nigeria and Speaker of House of Representatives is the number four citizen of the country; after President Buhari and his Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.

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