Coming with a vast pool of parliamentary knowledge spanning a stretch of 20 years, Senator Ahmed Lawam, a recipient of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), on Tuesday June 11, 2019 becomes the ninth Senate President after polling 79 votes, while the other contender, Ali Ndume, struggled to polled 28 votes in the secret ballot election held at the Senate Chamber.
Just like in 2015, Mr Lawan, the Yobe North Senator again emerged as party favourite in 2019. At first, he was poised to contest against two of his colleagues; Ali Ndume and Danjuma Goje, but Mr Goje withdrew a week before the election day.
Lawan, born in 1959, completed his primary education at Sabon Gari Primary School, Gashua in 1974 and then enrolled at Government Secondary School, Gashua where he obtained his O’Level in 1979.
Thereafter, he proceeded to University of Maiduguri where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Geography in 1984. Same year, he moved to North Central State, Benue, to do his one-year compulsory service under the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Ahmed Lawan later enrolled and had his Master’s degree in Remote Sensing from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and a Doctorate degree in Remote Sensing/GIS from Cranfield University, UK, in 1990 and 1996 respectively.
Before venturing into politics, Mr Lawan had had experience in civil service and the academy. Between 1985 and 1986, he worked in the Yobe state civil service, as an Education Officer in the Ministry of Education. From there he moved to the University of Maiduguri where he lectured for 10 years from 1987 to 1997. He was employed as Assistant Lecturer 1 in 1986.
Mr Ahmed Lawan kick-started his lawmaking career at the House of Representatives in 1999 when he won election to epresent Bade/Jakusko Federal Constituency of Yobe State. The lawmaker was elected under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APP), a party he pioneered as Vice Chairman of Yobe State Chapter. He remained a member until his re-election in 2003.
Elected still on the platform of same party in 2003, Mr Lawan was made the chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture in same year and held the position till 2005. From Agriculture, he was appointed to head the Education Committee in 2005 and held this position till the expiration of the 5th House of Reps.
In 2007, Ahmad Lawan contested and was elected a Senator to represent Yobe North Constituency. This time, his party had transmuted to the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP). In 2009, as chairman of the Senate committee on Public Accounts, he initiated and sponsored the Desertification Control Commission Bill.
Still on the platform of ANPP in 2011, Mr Lawan ran successfully for a second term as Senator and was re-elected. His party later merged with others to form the now ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014.
During the 2015 general elections, Mr Lawan now with the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) successfully ran again for the Yobe North Senatorial seat and won. One of the events Mr Lawan would be remembered for is his experience in the race for Senate presidency in 2015.
Senator Lawan had emerged as favoured candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the position of Senate President, and with a majority in the Senate, he was expected to carry the day. But this was not to be so.
On June 8, 2015, the day the formal election for senate president was to be held, while majority of APC senators, about 50, were waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari who had invited them to a meeting with him at the International Conference Centre, Mr. Saraki and other “rebel” senators of the APC moved into the National Assembly complex, where the police had thrown a cordon to prevent workers and reporters from entering, for the “election” of principal officers.
A total 57 senators loyal to Mr. Saraki, most of them PDP members, unanimously “elected” him after he was nominated by Senators Dino Melaye and Sanni Yerima. Hence how Lawan lost out, but he would later serve in the leadership of the Senate.
Some days after defeat to Mr Saraki, Mr. Lawan again lost a bid to become Senate Leader despite the backing of APC.
Instead of him, the APC senate caucus from the North-East nominated Ali Ndume as senate majority leader and Bala Na’ Allah (Kebbi south) as deputy majority leader by the party’s senate north-west caucus.
But Mr. Ndume would soon fall out with the powers. He was removed as Senate Leader in January 2017 and following recommendation by the APC caucus, Mr Lawan emerged to replace him. He held this position until the end of the 8th Senate.
In another development, the top contender for the position of the Senate President, Ali Ndume seems to have accepted the outcome of Tuesday’s election in the Senate.
Ndume, the Borno Staste Senator was seen shaking hands and congratulating his challenger, Ahmed Lawan after the Dormer’s declaration as the ninth Senate President.
The duo were the only contenders for the position. Mr Lawan prevailed with 79 votes to Mr Ndume’s 28.
However, while the votes were still being counted, Mr Ndume stood up from his seat to shake the hands of Ahmed Lawan and congratulated him amidst cheers from other lawmakers.
Mr. Lawan was the preferred candidate of the All Progressives Congress.
Shortly afterwards, the Yobe Senator was announced winner of the election. The election of Senate President was held at the first session of the Senate on Tuesday June 12, 2019.
After a secret ballot voting, the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, announced Mr Lawan’s victory to the cheer of Senators and others in the chamber.
Mr. Sani-Omolori said 107 senators cast their votes.
“It is my pleasure to announce that Senator-elect, Ahmed Lawan, having scored the highest number of total votes cast is hereby returned duly elected as Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.
Mr. Lawan, a former Senate Leader, was the favoured candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC), while Mr Ndume was backed by the PDP.
Senator Lawan’s nomination was moved in a motion by Senator Yahaya Abdullahi and seconded by Adeola Olamilaken of Lagos West.