Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai has applauded Sen. Danjuma Goje (APC-Gombe Central) for stepping down for Sen. Ahmad Lawan (APC-Yobe) in the contest for the position of senate President in the 9th Senate.
El-Rufai, speaking with the State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja after he had a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Lawan, Goje and Senator-elect, Uba Sani(APC-Kaduna Central)
He announced that Danjuma Goje had withdrawn from the race for Senate Presidency and endorsed the candidacy of the Ahmad Lawan, who was the anointed candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“We discussed steps to unify our leadership in the National Assembly starting with the Senate.
“I am very pleased to announce that distinguished Sen. Goje has agreed to fully endorse and support the choice of the party and that of the President within the Senate; that is Sen. Lawan.
“We are very grateful to Goje for his sacrifice, patience; this discussion has been going on for a long time and I am honoured to be part of it and I am grateful to him for recognising the many years we have worked together when he was minister.
“ 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 the president and to conclude this matter once and for all,’’ he added.
In response to the decision taken, Sen. Goje thanked his supporters and associates across the country, who had been urging him to declare for the Senate Presidency.
Goje, said that as an elder statement who had been around in the senate and politics for a long time, he still had to succumb to the leadership form the party elders. He stepped down because of the party interest and the love he has for President Buhari, in spite of the pressure from his supporters
“Instead, I am supporting the party’s position thereby endorsing the candidature of Sen. Lawan.
“I am not compelled to step down; I have been winning my elections 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 Lawan based on my own conviction that I am doing the right thing for our country, for our president,’’ he added.
Sen. Lawan, responded as he thanked President Buhari, Gov. El-Rufai and Sen. Goje for making the agreement possible.
He said that the endorsement by Sen. Goje was going to bring so much unity in the APC and indeed in the entire Senate in a 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, kick start 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 Sen. Goje, he is very experienced politician like he has said; he has been in this business much longer and than most of us really.”
“I respect him; even when there were so many clamours 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, he has willingly chosen to respect the wishes of the party and president, is the best position any politician could take,’’ he said.
He thanked those who had been working behind the scene to try and broker the understanding, adding that the race had been changed for the better.