By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
One of the contestants for the President of the 9th Senate, Ali Ndume, has said that his desire to lead the 9th session of the Senate was to bring reprieve to the people of North East as a region destroyed by Boko Haram and not for personal benefits.
Briefing journalists at the National Assembly yesterday, Senator Ndume (Borno South) said that he was confident of victory, adding that his mission for the president of Ninth Senate was not personal but collectively driven by many of his colleagues and constituents.
He added that as earlier declared, it was wrong for leadership of his party (APC), to impose any candidate on Senators-elect.
“My mission for the Ninth Senate is not personal. It is part of what we need to do in the polity of this country. First of all, it is wrong for leaders to be given a leader from amongst themselves.
“They are supposed to decide who among themselves is supposed to be their leader. And that also is taken care of by the Constitution of the Federal Republic, Section 50 (1).
“It is very clear as to how the Senate leadership should emerge. But let me quickly add that is not to say that I think I am more qualified to be the Senate President. I am not better than them in any way. Most of them were born with silver spoon, I came from a very poor background. My father was not educated. I am the son of nobody that became some body.
“I am a human being that has rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which I won’t compromise.
“Even before I threw my hat into the ring for the Senate Presidency seat, my people called on me to throw my hat for the position. And I did for many reasons.
“One, I feel I am qualified. Two, I feel I should be given the chance. Three, the zoning was made to North East deliberately because of the precarious situation that we find ourselves.
“The insurgency has inflicted N9.2 trillion destruction on the North East and you need somebody who knows where it pinches.
“We in Borno are in the epicenter of the Book Haram destruction. So it is not like what you will get from the Office of the Senate President but what you can do with it.
“If you are the Senate President in this country, you will be able to globetrot around, tell people how the problem is because you are in the heart of the problem. You know how it is and how it feels.
“So, if this opportunity is given to us, we have three critical issues in Borno particularly and the North East in general.
“One is the issue of recharging of Lake Chad, which should be taken globally by somebody that knows it, somebody that can explain better to the people. Two, the issue of insurgency as I said, had inflicted a N9.2 trillion damage on us. If we are to go by monthly federal allocation and the budget of the state, it will take us ages.
“Right now, you can rightly say that Borno is a failed state and the only way to bring it back is to have a way. And part of it is because I know and my passion for it because it affects me directly.
“Right now as I am speaking to you, I cannot comfortably drive to my local government. It has no light now because it is not connected. It has no telephone because the insurgents have destroyed the equipment. The ecosystem is destroyed, our schools are closed”, he said.