9th NASS leadership: PDP backs Ndume, Bago as Kalu withdraws from race

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Ali Ndume, former leader of the 8th Senate.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has thrown its weight behind Senator Ali Ndume who is aspiring to lead the Nigerian Senate in the 9th National Assembly.

Although Ndume belongs to the All Progressive Congress (APC), the ruling party adopted another lawmaker, Ahmed Lawan, as its preferred candidate. The duo wants to be Senate President and their fate will be determined in few hours from now as elections into the leadership of the legislative arm of government is expected to be conducted today.

The opposition party also formally endorsed Umar Bago, an APC lawmaker as its preferred candidate for the Speaker of the House of Representatives against Femi Gbajabiamila, candidate of the ruling party.

This is contained in a press statement signed by the party’s national secretary, Umar Tsauri, in the early hours of Tuesday.

“The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after very extensive consultations with critical stakeholders resolves to support Senator Ali Ndume and Hon. Umar Mohammed Bago for Senate President and Speaker of House of Representatives respectively, ahead of National Assembly inauguration on Tuesday,” the statement read.

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The PDP which said its lawmakers-elect should be guided accordingly noted that the decision is in the best interest of the nation, in line with the party’s determination “to deepen democracy, ensure a strong and independent legislature, strict compliance with the principle of separation of powers as well as constitutional checks and balances in the polity.”

Meanwhile, Orji Kalu, senator-elect of the APC has withdrawn from the Deputy Senate Presidency race.

The former Abia State governor withdrew from the race in the early hours of Tuesday and endorsed the party’s preferred candidate for the position, Senator Ovia Omo-agege.

Mr Kalu in a statement said his decision to step down is in the interest of the ruling party and the country at large.

“The party, I am optimistic will consider the South East for other principal positions in the Senate and House of Representatives for the sake of national unity,” the former governor said.

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“The South East should be ably and well represented at the top hierarchy of the 9th national assembly,” he added.