NASS leadership: Endorsement of Omo-Agege can cause disharmony within APC, Kalu warns
Omo-Agege's adoption brightens my chances - Senator Gaya
Contrary to speculations in some quarters that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), after wide consultations with President Muhammdu Buhari and other stakeholders of the party, has formally endorsed Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as the party’s candidate for the position of Deputy Senate President in the 9th National Assembly, a leading contender in the race and Senator-elect, Abia North Senatorial Zone, Dr. Orji Kalu, has debunked insinuations that he (Kalu) has withdrawn from the contest.
The National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Isa-Onilu, had early Monday morning issued a statement that the National Working Committee has formally adopted Senator Omo-Agege as the party’s candidate for the position of Deputy Senate President.
Kalu, who had some days ago met behind closed doors with President Buhari disclosed that the President only adopted the candidacies of the duo of Senator Ahmad Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila for the positions of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively, while noting that anyone is free to contest for other principal positions.
Senator Kalu via a statement issued by his media office on Monday and signed by Ken Cole, observed that as a staunch supporter of President Buhari and a loyal and committed member of the APC, he would always abide by the decisions of the President and highly respected members of the National Working Committee (NWC).
He, however, warned that Omo-Agege’s endorsement is capable of causing disharmony among party stakeholders.
“Ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration of the 9th National Assembly and election of principal officers, politicians have started deploying different antics to satisfy their ambitions.
“One of such is a statement credited to National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Isa-Onilu claiming that President Muhammadu Buhari and the NWC of the party have formally adopted Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as the party’s candidate for the position of Deputy Senate President.
“I hold the President in high esteem as well as the National Chairman of our great party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and other members of the NWC and as such, I will not disobey any formal pronouncement by them.
“However, I am still in the race to become Deputy Senate President because the President and the NWC have not adopted any candidate and as such contest is open to all members of the party, who have the capability.
“I have the political dexterity, leadership qualities and goodwill to complement the efforts of the Senate President in actualising the objectives of the legislature in support the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari in taking Nigeria to greater heights.
“Leadership positions in the 9th Senate should be given to people who have the will to support the agenda of the APC while not deviating from the ideals of democracy.
“As I continue to mobilise support for the position of Deputy Senate President, I commend the President, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and other stakeholders of the party for their support.
“Come tomorrow by the special grace of God and to the admiration of APC members and Nigerians at large, I will emerge as Deputy Senate President in the 9th National Assembly,” Kalu expressed optimism.
Kalu while appealing to APC leadership to provide a level playing ground for all contenders for the position of Deputy Senate President, who are APC members, he maintained that he is still in the race except otherwise advised by the President or the party’s highest decision-making body.
In a related development, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC-Kano South) also reiterated his resolve to contest for the position for the office of the Deputy Senate President on the floor of the Senate.
Senator Gaya who frowned at the ruling party’s decision to adopt Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, however, argued that Omo-Agege’s adoption further brightens his emergence as the Deputy Senate President.
“This is not my first time of contesting the election. Tomorrow will make it the fourth time and by the grace of God, it will be peaceful.
“I’m still in the race. I will contest with whoever that would also contest the position of the DSP tomorrow.
“Democracy is actually a game of number. Whoever has the highest number would win,” Senator Gaya told Senate Correspondents during a media chat.