© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Lawan, Gbajabiamila May Emerge Senate President, House Speaker
By Samuel Malik
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila are set on Tuesday to become Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively following their emergence as sole candidates for the positions in the mock elections conducted by the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Saturday.
Lawan, from Yobe North Federal Constituency, polled 32 of the 33 vote cast, including the three votes of Senators-elect from President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state, Katsina.
George Akume from Benue State, who was nominated by Ondo State senator, Ajayi Borrofice and seconded by Shehu Sani from Kaduna State, will run as Deputy Senate President.
Voting started around 11:00pm with Barnabas Gemade nominating Lawan and seconded by Oluremi Tinubu, wife of Ahmed Tinubu, leader of the APC.
Despite signing an agreement earlier in the day to abide by the outcome of the election, Bukola Saraki, Lawan’s main opponent for the senate presidency, and his supporters did not show up.
After the sorting and counting of votes, the chief returning officer, Mai Mala Buni, who is also the party’s national secretary spoke to newsmen.
“By the powers conferred on he by the NWC of the APC, Sen. Lawan, having satisfied the requirements, is hereby declared elected for the Office of the President of the Senate and George Akume for the Deputy President of the Senate.”
Relishing his victory, Lawan said the victory was for the party as a whole for agreeing to go into Tuesday’s inauguration of the 8th National Assembly with one voice. He also promised to reach out to those absent. “This change cannot be a real change unless everybody is on board,” he said.
Earlier, the party had conducted a mock election for House of Representatives-elect to decide who would be the party’s candidate for the position of Speaker, with Gbajabiamila defeating Yakubu Dogara, who staged a walkout with his supporters.
Gbajabiamila, from Lagos polled 154 votes to defeat Dogara from Bauchi State who got three votes. A stunned Dogara left the venue of the election, the International Conference Centre, with 19 of his supporters. One hundred and eighty-three members signed the attendance register but only 161 voted.
Tahir Monguno from Borno State emerged the sole candidate for the post of Deputy Speaker having polled 153 votes.
“By the powers conferred on me by the NWC of the APC as the Chief Returning Officer of the election, I certify that Femi Gbajabiamila, having scored the highest votes is declared sole candidate of the APC for the office of the Speaker of the 8th Assembly of the House of Representatives,” Mai Bunu, the returning officer, announced after the counting of votes.
John Odigie-Oyegun, APC chairman, congratulated the winners and charged them to be exemplary in the leadership.
“I want to charge you that from the minute you leave this hall; you must reach out to all members of the APC. As Mr. President did, so you must do and stretch your hand of fellowship to the other side. You must restore the confidence of the people in the House. It means sacrifice, leadership by example,” he said.