By Kazeem Ugbodaga
After lots of political intrigues and suspense, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, on Tuesday emerged the new Senate President of the 9th Assembly, replacing the former, Dr. Bukola Saraki. But not many people know who Lawan truly is, his background, academic prowess and exploits.
It is a fact that Lawan has been at the National Assembly as a lawmaker since 1999, traversing the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The 60-year old Senator was born in 1959 and has had a stint in the academics and civil service before delving into politics.
He received a bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Maiduguri, a master’s degree in Remote Sensing from Ahmadu Bello University and a doctorate degree in Remote Sensing/GIS from Cranfield University, UK.
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.
Elected to the House of Representatives for the northern state of Yobe in 1999, at different times, Lawan chaired the House Committees on Education and Agriculture.
Lawan was elected to the Senate in 2007. In 2008, he was a member of the National Assembly’s Joint Committee on Constitution Review. In 2009, as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Lawan initiated and sponsored the Desertification Control Commission Bill.
In August 2009, Lawan spoke against the proposed Kafin Zaki Dam. He stated that the Tiga Dam and Challawa Gorge Dam had already reduced water flow drastically, and the Jama’are River was now the main source of water in the Yobe River. He said the dams caused intense poverty, increased desert encroachment, migration and conflicts between arable farmers and herdsmen.
Lawan ran for re-election in Yobe North Senatorial District on the All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP platform in the 9 April, 2011 elections. He won with 92,799 votes, trailed by Hassan Kafayos Hussaini of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with 76,960 votes.
In 2015 Lawan was favourite to become the Senate President, but he was outwitted by Saraki who staged a ‘coup’ to become the Senate President.
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, 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. It was a debacle for Lawan.
Such was not allowed to occur in the 9th Assembly as the APC knew the consequence of allowing 2015 inglorious episode to re-occur. The stage was set and proper mobilisation was done to pave way for his emergence. More so, the full machinery of the APC leadership was at the Senate to ensure that Lawan carried the day. Governors of the APC state were also present. It was a massive mobilisation and there was no surprise at all as APC had its way in its choice of the Senate President.
In the build up to the Senate Presidency race, after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, June 6, 2019, Senator Danjuma Goje stepped down for Lawan. On June 11, 2019, Lawan was elected and sworn in as the Senate President of the Nigerian 9th Assembly, after defeating his opponent, Senator Ali Ndume who is also an APC Senator. It was a dream fulfilled.