Ahead of the election for the principal officers of the ninth National Assembly on Tuesday (today), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has endorsed Senator Ali Ndume and Umar Bago as its preferred candidates to emerge as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively.
The major opposition party in the country made its decision known after its National Working Committee (NWC) met with elected lawmakers on its platform in Abuja on Monday.
Both Senator Ndume and Bago are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress. However, the APC has endorsed Senator Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila as its preferred candidates for the top two offices of the federal parliament.
According to Uche Secondus, PDP National Chairman, the decision to adopt candidates other than the ones backed by the ruling party is to ensure that the party plays a “responsible opposition role” as expected by Nigerians.
“As the opposition political party, we must be seen to play responsible opposition role. Yes, none of the two presiding officers we are rooting for belong to the PDP, but we know that as a critical member of the National Assembly, we must have a say in the election of its leaders. This is the reason why we are backing both Ndume and Bago,” Secondus told the Punch.
Similarly, in a statement issued by Umar Tsauri, PDP National Secretary, early Tuesday, the opposition party confirmed that it was backing Senator Ndume and Bago in order to guarantee an independent legislature and in the “best interest of the nation.”
The statement noted that the endorsement was made after wide consultations with PDP lawmakers-elect, as well as other critical stakeholders.
The statement read: “The final resolution on Sen. Ndume and Bago was reached at the end of a decisive meeting of members of the National Working Committee, party leaders, state governors as well as senators and members-elect on the platform of the PDP.
“This decision is in the best interest of the nation in line with our 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.”
The PDP directed all senators and members-elect elected on its platform to “be guided accordingly.”