Senator Danjuma Goje, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, has explained why he stepped his ambition to become Senate President for fellow party man, Senate Majority Leader, Dr Ahmed Lawan.
His explanations end speculations that a file of his financial crimes was shown to him, and he was told the crimes would be made to go away if he agreed to trade away his ambition.
His words: “I want to say that hat as an elder statesman in the Senate for a long time. At my age, I should be able to appreciate leadership coming from our elders. So in spite of all these calls, in spite all the support I have among my colleagues in the Senate, I have decided to, in deference to the loyalty I have for his excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and in deference to the loyalty I have for my party, the APC in the interest of our party and the development of this country, in other to assist Mr. President to deliver his promises, I have decided to respect his wish by not declaring to contest this Senate Presidency.
“Instead, I am supporting the party’s position thereby endorsing the candidature of Senator Ahmed Lawan”.
Asked if he did not think the position of the APC was not an imposition on the National Assembly, Goje said, “It was not an imposition. I (was) not compelled to step down, I just told that at my age I have the capacity to think well and respect my elders and respect my patty. And in party politics…I am independent. I have been winning my elections many many times from local government to house of Assembly, to National Assembly to governorship and I was also a minister. To say that I have been threatened to support somebody, no! I am supporting him based on my own conviction that I am doing the right thing for our country, for our president.
In his own comments, Kaduna Governor, Nasir el Rufai said, “I am very pleased to report to you that we just came out from a meeting with our leader and mentor, the President with distinguished senator Danjuma Goje from Gombe state and Distinguished Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe state and the Senator-Elect, Uba Sani from my state.
“We discussed steps to unify our leadership in the National Assembly starting with the senate.
“I am very pleased to announce that Distinguished Senator Goje has agreed to fully endorse and support the choice of the party and that of Mr. President within the Senate, that is Senator Ahmed Lawan.
“We are very grateful to senator goje for his sacrifice, patience. This discussion has been going on for a long time and I honoured to be part of it and I am grateful to him for recognizing the many years we have worked together when he was minister, as governor. I know him to be a man of impeccable integrity and a man of his word and I am very honoured that he has come to see Mr. president and to conclude this matter once and for all.
Ahmed Lawan on his part thanked Buhari and el Rufai they played in getting Goje to step down for him.
“For me this is a great day and a very important moment for the contest for the office of the Senate President. The endorsement by Senator Goje is going to bring so much unity in the APC and indeed in the entire Senate in a very bi-partisan fashion. I believe that is the way to go, we want to go to the ninth senate focused and united right from onset, kickstart our activities which is very important at this time. The country needs a Senate that is focused and united for optimum performance and I believe that the Senators-elect will be happy to hear that this has been achieved.
“I want to thank Senator Goje, he is very experienced politician like he has said. He has been in this business much longer and than most of us really. And I respect him even when there was so much clamour for him to run for the position of the President of the Senate, he never came out to publicly to declare. Even though he had enormous respect and following, but the position he has willingly taken to respect the wishes of the party and president, is the best position any politician could take. And there is nothing better than to have a family that is very united, very solid and very focused.
“I also want to thank those who are have been working behind the scene to try and broker this understanding. By the end of today, I’m sure that the complexion for this race would have been changed for the better”.