Senator Danjume Goje, Thursday, endorsed the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan for the position, which is expected to be inaugurated on June 11.
The endorsement came a few minutes after Senator Goje, who is Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation and preferred candidate of the outgoing Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, senators met behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential villa, Abuja.
This is as he announced his withdrawal from the Senate Presidency race for the 9th Senate.
Goje also Present at the meeting which lasted about 45 minutes were the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang and a Senator-elect from Kaduna State, Uba Sani.
Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, Governor el-Rufai expressed happiness that Senator Goje had followed the direction of President Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, by endorsing Lawan who is the party’s preferred candidate for the 9th Senate leadership.
Governor el-Rufai, who was one of those that brokered meeting, said: “I am very pleased to report to you that we just came out of a meeting with our leader and mentor, the President with Distinguished Senator Damjuma Goje from Gombe and Distinguished Senator Ahmad Lawan from Yobe, the senator-elect, Uba Sani, from my state to discuss steps to unify our leadership in the National Assembly, starting with the Senate.
“I am very pleased to announce that Distinguish Senator Goje has agreed to fully endorse and support the choice of the party and that of Mr. President to lead the Senate that is Senator Ahmad Lawan.
“I am very grateful to Senator Goje for his sacrifice, for his patience. This discussion has been going on for a long time but I am honoured to be part of it and I am grateful to him for recognizing the many years we have worked together when he was a minister and governor. ”We have worked together for those days and I have known him to be a man of impeccable integrity and a man of his word and I am honoured that he has come to see Mr. President to conclude this matter once and for all.”
Why I endorsed Lawan–Goje
Also speaking, Senator Goje, who was former governor of Gombe State, said he decided to withdraw from the Senate presidency race to show his respect to President Buhari and his loyalty to the APC.
He said: “First, I want to use this opportunity to thank Allah for giving us this opportunity today. I want to thank my teeming supporters, associates across the country, who have been calling me to declare for the Senate presidency.
“The calls have come from across the country, I have listened to them, I appreciate them, I thank them very well.
“I have been in this game for a long time. At my age, I should be able to appreciate leadership coming from our elders. So in spite of all these calls, in spite of the support I have among my colleagues, senators and senators-elect, I have decided in deference to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and in deference to my loyalty to my party, APC, and in the interest of the unity of our party in the development of this country, in order to assist Mr. President deliver his promises.
“I have decided to respect his wish by not declaring to contest this Senate presidency. Instead, I am supporting the position of the party and his own position, thereby endorsing the candidature of Senator Ahmed Lawan
“I don’t think there is any imposition, I am not compelled to step down, I just said that I think that at my age, I have the capacity to think well and respect my elders and respect my party. I have been in party politics since the Second Republic and I have been winning my elections, from local government, House of Assembly, National Assembly to governorship and also as a minister.
“To say that I have been threatened to support somebody, no! I am supporting him based on my own conviction that I am doing the right thing for our country, for our President.”
My endorsement will bring peace to APC–Lawan
On his part, Senator Lawan said his endorsement by Senator Goje would bring unity to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Lawan said: “Let me thank Mr. President, our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, for giving us the leadership that we need at this point and always.
“We have just come out of a closed door meeting as it were, just like His Excellency, Governor Nasir el-Rufai, said. Mine is to thank Senator Goje and el-Rufai for making it possible for us to achieve what we have achieved today.
“For me, this is a great day and a very important moment for the contest for office of the President of the Senate. The endorsement by Senator Goje will bring so much unity to the APC and, indeed, the entire Senate in a very bi-partisan fashion.
“I believe that is the way to go, we want to go to the 9th Senate united right from onset, kickstart our activities, which is very important at this time. The country needs a Senate that is focused united for optimum performance and I believe that the senators-elect will be happy to hear that this has been achieved.
“I want to thank Senator Goje, he is very experienced politician like he has said. He has been in this business much longer than most of us really. And I respect him.
”Even when there was so much clamour for him to run for the office of the president of the Senate, he never came out publicly to declare.
“Even though he had enormous respect and following, but the position he has willingly taken to respect the wishes of the party and President, is the best position any politician could take. And there is nothing better than to have a family that is very united, solid and focused.
“I also want to thank those who have been working behind the scene to try and broker this understanding. By the end of today, I’m sure the complexion for this race would have been changed for the better.”