The Senator representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District in the upper legislative chamber, Senator Hamma Isa Misau, said on Saturday, that Senate President, Bukola Saraki, should not be blamed for the failure of Senator Ahmad Lawan to emerge as Senate Leader of the eighth Senate.
Misau, who stated this in Abuja, said senators of the North-East collectively took the decision to hand the Senate Leader position to Senator Alli Ndume after the June 9 emergence of Senator Saraki as Senate President.
He insisted that Saraki should not carry the blame for the inability of Lawan to emerge the Senate Leader as proposed by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
According to him, members of the North-East caucus of the APC in the Senate overwhelmingly voted against the decision to pick Lawan, adding that the senators expressed their preference for Senator Ali Ndume as the leader.
He stated that out of 11 senators, who were members of the caucus, eight voted for Ndume while three voted for Lawan and that since politics was a game of numbers, the candidate with majority of the senators emerged as leader.
He said he found it necessary to make the explanation to correct the widespread impression that Senator Saraki deliberately opposed the choice of Senator Lawan as Senate Leader to spite the leadership of the APC.
He said: “Many people do not know or understand what happened then. Truly, many of us prefer Ndume to Lawan. The fact that Ndume contested for the post of Deputy Senate President at that time and he sought the support of most senators made it easy for him to get our support.
“In any case, Senator Lawan never told anybody that he was interested in the post of Majority leader. We, therefore, voted for a person who actually lobbied and sought our support. So, we take responsibility for our decisions. Nobody should blame the Senate President.”
Misau further stated that many had misconstrued the powers of the Senate President in making decisions about the leadership of the Senate.
He said: “The Senate President is just first among equals. He represents one district like every other senator. He is not like a state governor or president who has executive powers and discretion to select ministers and commissioners.’’
The Senate President must always do what the Senators want and must even carry along his colleagues at all times. Dr. Saraki is very popular among us today because he is always respecting our opinion and usually doing what we want.
“He has a way of relating to all of us as equals that we are and trying to aggregate the overall interest and position of majority in taking decisions. So, when we said we wanted Ndume as Senate majority leader, he could not have done otherwise. Saraki has nothing against Lawan and I think, my brother Ahmed Lawan understands this.”