Former Senate leader, Ali Ndume, is confident that he will emerge as president of the Ninth Senate, next month.
Although the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has settled for Senator Ahmad Lawan, as its preferred candidate for the number one seat in the Red Chamber, Ndume banks on the support of his colleagues and party leaders.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos, yesterday, Ndume, who said he is not in the race to bargain for any juicy position, reiterated he consulted with President Muhammadu Buhari, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other leaders of the ruling party, on his ambition and, “they all gave me their blessings” to his ambition.
Ndume further disclosed that, so far, nobody has asked him to withdraw for anyone.
The former senate leader said even the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had explained that the party only recommended senator Lawan as its preferred choice and not trying to impose him on the senators.
He said: “We have 109 senators and each of them has one vote.
“If you are contesting to be the senate president, you have to reach out. But, at the beginning, I was cautious because I am a party man. So, when the party said ‘don’t go there, because if you do, you will be disciplined,’ I stayed back.
“But, the party came out again and said, ‘you can reach out to them now, and so, I reached out to them. So far, I thank God that the response I’m getting from my colleagues from the other party is very encouraging, same thing from my colleagues in APC. I’m in this race to win.
“So, I’m talking to everybody. I have all the phone numbers of the 109 senators-elect and I call them’
“I’ve written the party, indicating my intention to contest. Even my national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, publicly said they only recommended Lawan and are not stopping anybody from contesting for the position.
“As I speak with you, nobody has consulted me to say, ‘don’t run for senate president’. Every senator-elect has the constitutional right to do that,” he said.
Speaking on his nine-point agenda, Ndume, who currently represents Borno South senatorial district, promised to improve upon the performance of the Eighth Senate, and added that he will make the office of the senate president less attractive by reducing unnecessary privileges attached to the office.
While promising to uphold the independence of the legislative arm of government, the third-tern senator promised to “work harmoniously and inter-dependently with the Executive without undermining the principle of Separation of Powers.”
The lawmaker, who said the North East deserves an articulate representative as senate president, added that the region has suffered huge devastations with property worth over N2 trillion destroyed by insurgents and that there is need for an articulate candidate from the zone, as senate president, to galvanise global support for the restoration of the North East.