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    Senate presidency: PDP mulls fielding its candidate if Goje steps down


    - The opposition Peoples Democratic Party is set to field a candidate for the 9th Senate presidency contest

    - This is however dependent on if Senator Danjuma Goje eventually fails to participate in the race

    - Goje is a former governor of Gombe state and APC member, is the adopted candidate of the PDP

    A report by New Telegraph indicates that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will field a candidate for the 9th Senate presidency contest, if Senator Danjuma Goje eventually fails to participate in the race.

    Goje is a former governor of Gombe state and senator representing Gombe central senatorial district in the National Assembly. Even though he is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), he is said to be the adopted candidate of the PDP.

    According to the report, the PDP has been monitoring direction of events, to see what would happen in the APC, with respect to who would contest as candidates of the ruling party before deciding on whether or not to participate in the race.

    One of the sources quoted in the report said since Goje appears to be reluctant to publicly declare his interest in the Senate presidency, the opposition party is waiting for the right time to take appropriate decision on the matter.

    The source hinted that the PDP had not been definitive on whether or not it would field a candidate because the party’s intention has been to support Goje to emerge the next president of the Senate by giving him block vote.

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    The source said: “Don’t rule out the possibility of PDP fielding a candidate to contest with the APC candidate. However, everything is dependent on who is coming out from the APC. If Goje fails to contest, I can tell you that the PDP will field a candidate because it is Goje that the opposition party is backing.

    “As it stands now, the picture is not very clear as to whether or not Danjuma Goje is going to contest because it is expected that he should have declared his intention by now. But I know that he is interested, but at the same time he is afraid that if he declares intention to run, the anti-graft agencies may come after him because he is having a pending case with the EFCC.

    “The PDP can spring surprises. If Goje finally backs out, the PDP is likely going to field somebody to contest that office, and their chances are bright. I think they secured about 40 seats in the Senate during the last general election.

    “And, as you know, it is only simple majority that is required to elect a Senate president. If the opposition works very hard, they can get 13 or so members of the APC to support their candidate, and that will give them victory.”

    PDP won 43 seats out of the 109 senatorial seats in the Senate while the APC has 64, YPP has one, while one seat for Imo north is yet to be declared as the matter is pending in court.

    Sources say that the PDP is more comfortable with Goje because he is perceived to be more independent minded than Lawan.

    Just as Lawan has been lobbying the PDP senators-elect for support, the PDP chieftains are also working hard to get support from the APC senators-elect, with which to give their preferred candidate victory during June inauguration.

    Also, the chances of the PDP to produce the next Senate president would be brighter, if Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno south) refuses to step down for Lawan.

    “If Ndume contests, it means that he will split the votes of the ruling party, and therefore make it an easy ride for the opposition candidate to emerge victorious because the PDP senators-elect will cast their votes in block for their candidate,” a source said.

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    Meanwhile, there are fears that the inauguration of the 9th Senate may be disrupted by hired thugs due to the disagreement over the voting pattern to be adopted in the election of presiding officers.

    Opposing camps are said to be flexing muscles and spoiling for war following a disagreement over the voting pattern to be adopted.

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