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Senate President: Block votes unlikely as PDP senators split



About seven days to the election of principal officers for the Ninth Senate, there is a major disagreement in the camp of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The split has created a setback for the proposed block votes by the main opposition party against the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Ahmed Lawan.

Lawan looks good for the trophy, with many senators-elect, including those of PDP, joining his campaign train.

Although the final figure was being collated last night, there were indications that the APC candidate might garner about 62 or 63 of the 108 votes available.

The fate of a former Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha is yet to be decided by the court.

Notwithstanding, four APC senators, including Ali Ndume, Danjuma Goje, Saidu Alkali and one other.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that there has been a major split in the PDP Caucus on block votes when the Senate is inaugurated on June 11.

It was learnt that some PDP senators-elect have opted to vote on principle for Lawan instead of party sentiments.

Others are unhappy that a principal officer of the outgoing National Assembly and some opposition governors decided to dictate to them on who to vote for as the next President of the Senate and other principal officers.

The aggrieved PDP senators-elect alleged that selfish interest, rather than “PDP’s larger common interest”, accounted for the push to vote against APC candidates.

A ranking PDP senator-elect said: “Unlike in 2015 when we had clearly defined agenda, the PDP has no focus this time around on the choice of principal officers. I can assure you that the opposition will not engage in block votes this time around.

“We have not even been given any serious directive by the party. This was not the case in 2015.

“A few of our leaders championing block votes have been doing so to pursue personal agenda. It is absurd to attempt to make principal offices hereditary or to impose leaders on us.

Some of us will rather collaborate in a manner that a constructive opposition will be in place for a greater future for PDP.

“Some PDP senators-elect have elected to have a new Senate with enhanced agenda. They have high regards for Lawan and they will vote for the APC candidate.”

The source claimed that some PDP senators from the Southwest, Northcentral, Southsouth, and the Southeast will join forces with their APC colleagues on Lawan’s project.

The source confirmed that a “former President of the Senate, who is in PDP, has given his blessing to Lawan” in the country’s interest.

Members of the Lawan Campaign Council and strategists yesterday defied the Sallah holidays to “take stock” of those who had signed up to back their candidate.

Although they were still computing the tally, a member of the team said: “More senators-elect have appended their signatures to support Lawan.

“I cannot give you the exact figure now but the situation at hand is far better than it was in 2015. Some PDP senators are part of our campaign this time around because of the vision inherent in it.”

Despite the fact that the final tally figure was kept under wraps, there were indications that the APC candidate might garner about 62 or 63 out of the 108 votes available.

“We will not hide it; all the senators-elect backing Lawan will surely come out to confirm they belong, “ another source added.

But APC senators-elect have decided to be united with the exception of four.

The four APC senators-elect opposed to Lawan’s leadership are Ali Ndume and Danjuma Goje, who are eyeing Senate President, Alh. Saidu Alkali ( Gombe North) and one other from the North.

A source said: “So far, apart from the four APC senators, our caucus is more united for the election of principal officers than the case four years ago.”

Lawan will tomorrow unveil his legislative agenda for the 9th Senate, The Nation learnt.

A notice by the Chairman, Sen. Ahmad Lawan Campaign Group, Dr. Yahaya Abdullahi, said the agenda is about “a National Assembly that works for Nigeria”.


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