There are indications that the All Progressive Congress (APC) may decide to zone the office of the Senate President to the North East despite the earlier speculation that the party has zoned the office to the North Central Geo-Political Zone.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said there is no truth to anything that has been dished out anywhere, concerning the issues of appointment, especially the zoning of the National Assembly’s principal positions and other offices.
The party said that in the true tradition of the APC, all issues of public interest will be handled transparently and conveyed to Nigerians through the usual communication channels.
“No appointments have been made and no offices have been zoned. The main concern of our party at the moment is to ensure a smooth transition and to hit the ground running, in the overall interest of the long-suffering people of Nigeria.
”At the appropriate time, Nigerians will be informed of the appointments made and the offices zoned,” APC said.
An insider in National Assembly told universalreporters247.com that APC may decide to zone the office of the Senate President to the North East Geo-Political Zone because of several factors like alleged marginalization of the zone, enormous contribution of North East to the success of the party at the poll among other things.
The source said that except Lagos State, Yobe and Borno are the only states in Nigeria that have been in opposition party since 1979.
In 1979, NPN was the ruling government at the centre while Lagos was controlled by UPN; Yobe and Borno were being controlled by GNPP.
Those from the North East are of the view that if justice and fairness is to prevail, now that opposition party takes over the national government, North East particularly Yobe and Borno should be compensated.
“I also believe that if there is any element of truth in the saying that “a patient dog eats the fattest bone” then there is no doubt, the APC leaders will definitely consider zoning the office of the Senate Presidency to the North East,” a source who does not want his name on print affirmed.
One of the factors that APC leadership may consider in favour of the North East is that the zone is the most devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency and one of the poorest region on earth according to the United Nations Report. The UN assessment is based on access to water, education, electricity, healthcare service, infrastructure etc.
Unlike the North Central which has produced the Senate President including Senator David Mark who is completing his eight years as Senate President, the North East has never produced president of Nigeria and Senate President.
A source said the North East is the most marginalized geo-political zone in terms of political patronage.
“I think North East should be compensated with the position of the Senate President,” the source affirmed.
In the presidential election, North East produced the largest results next to North West where President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari hails from.
North East also produced 13 senators in the March 28 parliamentary election and took over Bauchi and Adamawa from PDP. The governorship race for Taraba State is on-going.
In the North Central Geo-Political Zone, Senate Minority Leader, Senator George Akume (Benue State) and Senate Committee Chairman on Environment and Ecology, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki are leading the race for the office of the Senate Presidency.
While Akume served as Governor of Benue State between 1999-2007 his counterpart in Kwara State also served as Governor between 2003-2011. Both of them won election to the Senate after completing their second term as governors.
Despite the fact that incumbent Senate President Senator David Mark (Benue State) is from North Central they argued that the votes from North Central led to the victory of APC in the presidential election producing, hence the need for the party to compensate the zone with the position of the Senate presidency.
It is possible that the leadership of APC may succumb to the pressure from the North Central and zone the Senate Presidency to their geo-political zone. However, pundits argued that the level of struggle for the office of the Senate President by Senator Georg Akume (1953-12-27) representing Benue North West and Bukola Sarki (1962-12-19) Kwara Central Senatorial District may bring uneasiness to the Senate and subsequently lead to big crisis in the party if any of them emerges as the Senate President. The argument was that there is no indication that any of the contenders is willing to step down for each other and if the party forces any of them to step down, it will bring about disharmony between the duo which may be difficult to be settled.
A visit to the National Assembly by medium on Tuesday with a view to access the on-going lobbying for the office of the Senate President, the paper observed that in the North East the major contenders are meeting each other with a view of producing one person should the party zone the office of the Senate Presidency to their geo—political zone. However, there is no indication such relationship exists between the contenders in the North Central.
This paper cannot confirm if the three major contenders, Senator Ali Ndume, Borno South, Senator Danjuma Guje, Gombe Central and Senator Ahmed Lawan Yobe North Senatorial District have been able to produce a single person for the office of the Senate President if the party eventually zone it to their geo-political zone. However, Senator Ndume was seen in the office of Danjuma Goje with a view to seek his support for the race. This does not mean Goje has agreed to step down for him. Senator Ahmed Lawan was also later seen with Senator Ndume with each of them wearing a smiling face but this paper cannot verify what transpired between the duo.
While Senator Ahmed Lawan (1959-01-12) is the Chairman Senate Committee on Public Account Senator Danjuma Goje (1952-10-10) is the Vice Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream. Senator Aliyu Ndume (1959-11-20) is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Both Senator Lawan and Senator Goje had severed at various capacity as leader and deserve to become Senate President. But one of the common traits of the duo which pundits argued will put them behind Ndume is that they are very aggressive. The pundit argued that the office of the Senate President is too sensitive and should be left in the hand of person that is always composed and calmed even in the troublous time.
The pundits maintained that Senator David Mark made history as the longest serving Senate President in Nigeria because of his humility, patriotism and pragmatism. They also argued that he succeeded because he is negotiator, strategist and diplomat and not necessarily being aggressive on national issues. They also see Senator Ndume as pro-masses senator.
Apart from personal characteristics which put Senator Ndume in vantage position ahead his two friends, it emerged recently that Ndume though in the North, he remains a political boy to the strong man of Yoruba politics, Senator Ahmed Tinubu. Senator Ndume who also served as Minority Leader in the House of Representatives (2007-2011) is being admired by President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari because of his acceptability in both National Assembly and his zone, North East.
Another factor that will favour Ndume if APC eventually zone the Senate Presidency to the North East is that the battle for the race in the region has almost been pruned down to Yobe and Borno State. During the APC convention where the party national leaders emerged, Yobe is given the position of National Secretary of the party. The position was then zoned to the Norht East, particularly, Yobe and Borno Borno had to give up in order to allow a Yobe indigene occupy the position. Now that the battle is almost between Yobe and Borno, it is the turn of Yobe to give up in order to allow Borno produce the next Senate President.
Senator Aliyu Ndume as a Biblical Joseph?
Senator Aliyu Ndume though born of a Christian mother and Muslim father had some common things with Joseph in the Holy Book in respect of dream, travails, vindication and elevation.
Joseph’s brethren in the Holy Book decided to terminate his life because of his dream which showed that he was going to be a great man in the future. However, because of God’s intervention the plan of his brethren was dwarfed though he suffered so many things including false accusation, imprisonment, he was later was elevated to the position of prime minister in Egypt.
An attempt to clip the wings of Ndume by the one time strong man of Borno Politics, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff who served as governor for eight years, Ndume was pushed into trouble possibly to stop him, from flying higher in theNigerian politics.
The plan to stop Ndume from going further in politics became matured in 2010 when Ali Mudu Sherif (an alleged sponsor of Boko Haram who was never being questioned) tried to stop Ndume from contesting the 2011 parliamentary election under the defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) the then ruling party in the state. This plan failed as Ndume crossover to PDP and eventually defeated the ANPP senatorial candidate in the 2011 election. With the emergence of Ndume as Senator representing Borno South Senatorial District, another plan was hatched by his enemies leading to his linkage with the dreaded Boko Haram sect. The Boko Haram operations had left thousands of people dead and rendered millions of people homeless. During the last general election in March 28 and April11, 2015 Ndume was among those who voted at IDPs camp in Maiduguri because his local government, Gwosa was one the LGs taken over by Boko Haram insurgents.
Mohammed Ali Ndume was born in1959-11-20 in Gwoza Local Government Area, Borno State. He attended Kaduna Polytechnic and then the University of Toledo, USA, where he gained a Masters Degree in Accounting and Computer. He became a Senior Lecturer in Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri, Borno State until 2003, when he entered politics
Ndume was elected to represent Chibok/Damboa/Gwoza Federal Constituency in April 2003 and was reelected in April 2007, on the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) platform. He was appointed Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, 2007-211. His record then showed that he performed well.
In December 2010 Ndume decamped to the PDP, citing the injustices going on in the party as his reason for leaving the ANPP. He said the people from the grassroots of Southern Borno were solidly behind him. He said that he was not being given a level playing ground in the competition with other ANPP aspirants for candidature in the Senate election. Apparently he had fallen out with Governor Ali Modu Sheriff Ndume’s defection to the PDP was seen as a major blow to the ANPP. He was said to have been the major financer of ANPP in the Borno-South senatorial zone, and was considered one of the most dynamic of the lawmakers from the North East zone.
Following Ndume’s defection, the PDP re-opened the sale of nomination forms. Alhaji Sanda Garba, who had been the only aspirant for the Borno South Senate seat, stepped down to make way for Ndume as the PDP candidate. In the election, Ndume won 146,403 votes, ahead of Dr. Asaba Vilita Bashir of the ANPP with 133,734 votes and Alhaji Unaru Ibrahim of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) with 20,414 votes.
Ndume was appointed to a committee established by the out-going President Goodluck Jonathan to consider opening talks with Boko Haram . it is in the course of this service he was arrested on alleged link to Boko Haram in November 2011.
Ndume political enemies thought linking him with the dreaded Boko Haram will lead him to political oblivion but as the truth unfolds in respect of those behind the emergence and sponsorship of Boko Haram, Ndume was not only vindicated but was also elevated. Apart from Ndume’s vindication at Appeal Court in Abuja over linkage with the sect, his people mainly Christians in Southern Borno also vindicated him by massively casting their vote for him during the March 28 parliamentary election.
Ali Sheriff, an alleged sponsor of Boko Haram and friend of the out-going President Jonathan was rejected by Borno people during the 2015 general election. All those associated with Ali Sheriff in the last elections lost including President Jonathan.
During the Senatorial election, Ndume of APC scored 150,000 votes to defeat Nicolus Mshelizah of PDP who got 20,000 votes. Even in Hawul LG where Nicolus hails from, Ndume got 24,000 votes against 3000 votes of Nicolus. Inhabitants of Hawul LG are mainly Christains. Nicolus is also a Christian but he lost to Ndume.
In Chibok LG, Ndume got 8,500 votes against Dr. Bitrus Pogu of SDP who scored 6000 votes. Bitrus is Christian and from Chibok LG. Chibok is made up of 95% Christians.
Pundits argued that Ndume has been absolved of all allegation bothering on linkage with Boko Haram based on the way they voted for him. They also agreed that trap of Biblical Hamaan set for Modecai eventually caught up with Hamaan.
The allegation that Ali Sheriff met with President-elect, Buhai secretly crying profusely begging to return to APC indicates his (Sheriff) pilgrimage to political oblivion. Ali Sheriff was rejected in general election and his friend, incumbent President Jonathan was also defeated in the presidential election.
If Ndume emerges victorious in the race for Senate Presidency, he will then join the list of African leaders who passed through travails before their ascension to the throne. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and lat Nelson Mandella came out from prison to become President of their respective countries.