An aspirant for the position of Senate President of the incoming 9th Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, has denied claims that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has advised him to drop his ambition.
Rumours in some quarters had claimed that Osinbajo advised Ndume when the senator recently visited him in his office to step down for the Senate Majority Leader, Ahmad Lawan, who has since been endorsed by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to become the next Senate President.
But in a statement on Thursday, Ndume, who has vowed to go ahead with his ambition despite the position of his party, denied the report, saying that Osinbajo never advised him, or showed he was against his ambition to succeed the outgoing Senate President Bukola Saraki.
He further said that even the President has nothing against his aspiration, adding that he sought Buhari’s permission long before the general election and he asked him to go ahead.
“Osinbajo didn’t ask me to drop the idea of contesting the Senate Presidency. We only talked about IDPs, Orphanages and related matters.
“The truth is, it is usual for me to meet with the vice president to discuss issues of common interest, especially the humanitarian crisis in the northeast, of which the vice president has shown exceptional interest in helping out.
“Personally, I’m a committed Buharist. Whether I become the Senate President or not, I will continue to stand by him, defend his policies because I see him as a mentor. And I believe that Mr. President has nothing against my aspiration for the office of the Senate President because I sought his permission long before the general election and he gave me his go-ahead. I have not heard anything otherwise from him.
“I believe he will not go against my aspiration, because as he said he belongs to everybody and belongs to nobody. And he sticks to that. I am sure that the least he can do is to allow the constitution, which he strongly believes in, and the rule of law to prevail in the emergence of the senate leadership.
“So, I want to use this opportunity to clear the air as to those that are trying to cause disaffection,” the statement read.
Ndume’s defiant position on the matter of Senate presidency has remained an issue of concern to some APC members who would not want a repeat of what happened four years ago where the party’s anointed candidate lost the position to Saraki, who was never wanted as Senate President by APC.