By Abdul Jelil Adebayo
The General Elections have come and gone and attention is now focused on who takes the plum job as leaders in the Ninth National Assembly. Already a lot of water is passing under the political streams of the two major political parties, the All Progressives Party, [APC] and the Peoples’ Democratic Party[PDP].
Much attention for now is on the tribunals sitting across the country about who won and who lost . But more importantly the focus is on the two chambers of the National Assembly. Who will be the next Senate President and who will be the next Speaker . While many are taking things for granted, political maneuvering is drastically playing out. And from feelers from the National Assembly, a repeat of what happened in 2015 might reoccur.
The party with the majority in the National Assembly, and for now, the All Progressives Congress is expected to produce the leadership of the two chambers, and many political watchers are praying the same mistakes in 2015 will not spring out.
Already four names are being propped up as possible Senate President ; they are Adamu Abdullahi from Nasarawa state, Danjuma Goje from Gombe state, Ahmed Lawan from Yobe state and Mohammed Ali Ndume from Borno state. The four are eminently qualified but since the four cannot be senate president at the same time, one certainly must ascend the throne.
Adamu Abdullahi, yes a onetime governor of Nasarawa state and three time senator is qualified but the zoning of the slot to north east may be his undoing. He was fanatically a party man and never hid his disdain to anyone who opposed Buhari while Saraki held sway. He was almost placed on suspension because of his staunch support for party supremacy and a diehard Buharist. But his zone is out of it. He may be compensated with the majority leadership.
Danjuma Goje was rather cold while the defence of what the party stands for cropped up in the eighth senate. He was an ardent supporter of Saraki, after all there is no crime supporting the leader. But when it mattered most, he was silent and could not be found on the political landscape. But in APC, he is a force to be reckoned with and feeles from the party said Goje is being begged to retain his chairmanship of Appropriation committee.
Ahmed Lawan is a faithful and loyal party man to the core. He has been in the opposition party ever since 1999 until the merging of political groups that came up with APC. But leadership of the senate goes beyond been a loyal party man, senate just like the green chamber is for the lion hearted, not a push over. A man that can stand before the 5th columnists within the party and wolves outside, in the opposition parties, and still remains standing.
A quite man and not too pushful cannot be first among equals in the wild chambers where we have retired and retiring governors who are used to dishing out orders and not ready to be pushed around and the Johnny just come, those who are fresh and coming to prove that newness are not idiotic. A strong hearted but a gentleman needs to be the head.
Ndume stands out shoulder high among the lots. He is fearless, admirable, party loyalist, philanthropist, and loveable. He has everything working for him. He has gone through many troubled waters and came out victorious. His critics may say he has been jumping ship at will and loyalty may be in doubt. But those who know the Borno senator very well will know that anyone in his shoe would not mind jumping ship as at that time.
\It is a common knowledge that when Ndume wanted to come to the House of Representatives for the second time, the then lord of the manor, the governor of Borno state then, the ‘mighty’ Ali Modu Sherriff, refused to back his candidature and picked a lady from the same Gwoza as Ndume and supported her with all his might, financially and politically and of importance, incumbency of a state governor. As if that was not enough Modu Sherriff told a bewildered political audience that instead of him supporting Ndume, he removed his sandal and showed it to the public, that his sandals will defeat Ndume hands down.
And politically speaking, Ndume is loved by his people and with this insult the opposition party in the state, the PDP offered him automatic ticket should he decide to join them. He jumped at it and roundly defeated the governor’s anointed. And since then, Ndume has never looked back.
His houses, both in Apo Legislative Quarters in Abuja and the moderate one he has in Maiduguri, have been a Mecca of a sort. He touches life and is always ready to listen to both the rich and the poor. He knew what poverty is as he grew up with a wooden spoon. Through hard work and the grace of God, Ndume can say unequivocally that he has touched more lives than any of the contestants. Why was he removed as senate leader, simply because he was ready to be a party man to the core he stood for truth no matter who was involved?
While his colleagues, including those aspiring for the same position kept quiet, he was the only lone voice that ricochets through the political landscape when the senate for three time consecutively denied the confirmation of the anti-graft icon, Ibrahim Magu. While everybody kept quiet, Ndume told the world that the last has not been heard about the final stance of the senate on the confirmation of Magu. The lions and the hawks in the red chamber, especially those who have skeleton in their cupboard, jumped at it and described his utterance as sacrilegious.
The only way to quiet him was to remove him, taking also into consideration his closeness to President Muhammadu Buhari. He was sacrificed and Lawan was the beneficiary. Even after his removal, Ndume was a thorn in the body of the hawks in the senate; his quietness was disturbing and was never given a space to speak on the floor.
Taking into consideration the above and many others that cannot be enumerated here, Ndume is and remain the best among the pack. He has what it takes to lead the national assembly; he was a minority leader in the House of Representatives, and played that role very well; first senate leader in the eight senate. Experience is not bought in the market, and Ndume has possessed this through his voyage on the political terrain.
He has a good rapport with many of the senators, both old and the new. He is a team player and party loyalist, he believes in one country and not a religious bigot. A devout Muslim raised by a Christian mother and a Christian step father; He knows much about the two religions. He is a philanthropist; he is ready to give his last naira to assist the needy. He has his friends spread across political divide. His best friend is a Christian and his cook is a Christian and his helping the need does not know tribe or sex, he cuts across and his shoulder is always available for those who need his help.
His colleagues troop to him for counsel and surprisingly some cabinet ministers who needed to get the ears and eyes of the presidency visited the home of Ndume both in daylight and in the dark of the night; and he has never failed and where he could not help he would not play politics but be frank to a fault.
All said and done, Ndume is the best for the next senate president, a man who will carry the banner of the party and have a good right standing with the executive arm and certainly the judiciary since he believes the judiciary is the last hope of both the masses and those in power. He is a bridge builder and has the potential of quelling the insurgency in North East. Nigerians and his colleagues in particular will not regret if they enthrone him, by the grace of God Almighty.