The Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan and House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila have intensified lobby for the positions of Senate president and Speaker of the House in the incoming 9th Assembly, Talk of Naija has learned. The new move came less than three weeks to the inauguration of the 9th Assembly. The two leaders had been endorsed by their party, the APC, as the preferred candidates for the two offices.
Our correspondent gathered that both Lawan and Gbajabiamila were not leaving any stone unturned in their bids to emerge victorious in June. It was learned that the two politicians were not relying only on the endorsements of their party to clinch the positions, but were spreading their tentacles around and talking to all the lawmakers across political parties.
Part of the strategy adopted, it was learned, was meeting with major stakeholders independently and separately, including state governors both in Abuja and at their respective states. Governors are usually influential in their own rights as they often convince lawmakers from their states to vote for certain candidates or push certain agenda in the National Assembly.
Bearing this in mind, it was learned that both Lawan and Gbajabiamila had already met several state governors separately and would meet others between now and the day of the inauguration in June.
The two contenders for the two most important offices in the National Assembly were also billed to meet with some traditional rulers and other influencers in the country to sell their candidatures. It was part of the lobby that Lawan, alongside his Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam and the incoming governor of the state, Mai Mala Buni, visited governors of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states on Monday.
Lawan told Daily Trust in Abuja yesterday that his resolve to adopt door-to-door campaign was to build confidence towards having a United 9th Senate “if God makes it possible for me to emerge.” He said he was working round the clock to meet each senator-elect individually to understand him better, saying every senator would be carried along if he emerged victoriously.
Also, Gbajabiamila along with members of his campaign team had already embarked on a tour of the various geopolitical zones in the country, starting with South-South and South East where he got the endorsements of the governors of Ebonyi and Enugu states. Both Lawan and Gbajabiamila were the preferred candidates of the APC for the two positions before the inauguration of the current 8th National Assembly on June 9, 2015.
But they both lost to Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara respectively following an alliance between some APC and PDP members in both chambers. A source said having learned their lessons from the last contest, the two leaders are now campaigning vigorously with a view to convincing their colleagues to support them.