The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has declared that he was running for the office of Nigeria’s president in his capacity as a qualified Nigerian and not as a northern aspirant.
This was contained in a press statement signed late Thursday by Ola Awoniyi for the Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan Campaign Organisation.
The statement said Lawan made the remarks when he visited Katsina State to seek the support of delegates of the All Progressives Congress in the state for his presidential bid.
“I am not running as a northern aspirant because the impression created is that I’m a northern aspirant or that northerners are saying they are not going to allow power to the South.
“I’m not running as a northern candidate. I’m running as a Nigerian Presidential aspirant and therefore I come with all my qualifications for that office and people should judge me on the basis of what I have to offer,” Lawan said.
According to the statement, Lawan met with some members of the Katsina State House of Assembly led by the Speaker of the House, Tasiu Maigari.
Lawan told the members of the House that he possessed the requisite experience having been elected into the National Assembly in 1999.
“We have been around for some time. Thank God, from 2019, we have been working with the President of our Party, President Muhammadu Buhari, very closely. I know and I understand most of the national issues that we deal with.
“I’m a participant in this government and I use that as one advantage that I have. Even though I’m a parliamentarian, I have some experience in governance. Real experience. Therefore, we are going round to tell Nigerians that we are available.
“The fact that we came out last speaks volumes because I didn’t just wake up one morning and say I want to be President. It took a lot of time for those who believe in me to talk to me to also throw my hat in the ring. And after some time, I accepted.
“And that is to say that some people are not satisfied with those they are seeing and they think that we can do better. I have a great deal of respect for those who are running. The other aspirants.
“And I believe that I have my advantages and I’m going to use my advantages by the Grace of God to not only emerge as the candidate of our party but also win the general election.
“And I’m not running like someone from the North-East, I’m running as a Nigerian because I believe that I understand the issues of development in Nigeria today.
“And as a participant in this administration, I know that this administration succeeded in some ways and has not succeeded as much in others, and therefore, those areas in which we succeeded, it’s for me to continue to build on them.
“Those areas that we have found ourselves in deficit, that we have not been able to succeed as much, it’s for us to work on them.
“I am a product of this administration and my party and therefore I commit myself to the ideals of my party.
“I commit myself to the ideals of this administration because it takes every effort by everyone to bring development. Mr. President will be finishing his term in 2023 as we all know but his ideals are there and his ideals are to develop our country,” the Senate president said.
Lawan, according to the statement, also told a large gathering of party leaders and delegates, with the State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Masari in attendance, he should be considered as the presidential candidate of the party in the forthcoming primary because of his long years of serving in the National Assembly as well as his working relationship with the president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
“It will be 23 years on the 4th of June this year that I have been in the National Assembly. My experiences, I believe, are adequate because I have worked with people like you (Governor Masari), and today, I’m working with our President, President Muhammadu Buhari who is leading the APC administration.
“For me, this is an experience that I cherish. This is an experience that makes me think that I have the capacity, that I have the ability, that I have the training, that I have the audacity and the courage to stay in that office in Abuja, in the Villa, to lead the affairs of this country with people like you around me,” Lawan said.
The Senate president also stated that becoming the president as a senator was not abnormal, citing the United States president Joe Biden and former president Barack Obama who were both senators before becoming presidents of the US.
“It is not abnormal that a Senator can be a President. In the US, even the current President (Joe Biden) was in the Senate. Former President Obama was in the Senate and therefore I believe that coming from the Legislature, with some experience from the Executive because I have been working very closely with the President, I have the requisite experience to lead the affairs of this country,” Lawan said.
The statement quoted Governor Masari as describing Lawan as a very reliable person, adding that, “When he called me, I told him he should have gone to other places because whatever is possible, whatever we can do for him, we will do it.”
The Senate President was accompanied by a former Governor of Abia State and the Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, Senator Mohammed Musa, Senator Bello Mandiya, and former Senator Tafida Umar.