Ahead of Tuesday’s inauguration of the ninth National Assembly, a front-line contender for the position of Deputy Senate President, Senator Ajayi Boroffice has withdrawn from the race.

A statement issued on Monday and signed by his Press Secretary, KayodeFakuyi said Boroffice decided to step down for another contender for the position as a mark of respect for President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

It was learnt that the decision by Boroffice, who represents Ondo North Senatorial District was arrived at after Sunday night’s caucus meeting of the senators-elect of the ruling party.

”Some weeks ago, Distinguished Senator (Prof.) Robert Ajayi Boroffice (OON) declared intention, through letters addressed to Senators-elect to seek the office of Deputy Senate President.

“The intention to contest was anchored on the deep conviction that with his excellent public service record, rich legislative experience and personality, he has the best credentials for the position.

“Consequently, he embarked on extensive consultations with party leaders, senators-elect and political groups. Indeed everybody that was consulted agreed that he is eminently qualified to seek the office of Deputy Senate President.

“Instructively, majority Senators-elect have assured the senator of their support and the prospect of victory is high.

“However, in deference to President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice has decided to withdraw from the race.

“For the support and solidarity, Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice is grateful to Senators-elect. He is humbled by the warm embrace and great display of camaraderie.

“We appreciate the people of Ondo North senatorial district and our friends across the country for the prayers, support and goodwill messages.

“For the far-reaching endorsements, steadfastness and unflinching support, gratitude goes to all concerned political groups across the country especially, the APC Young Stakeholders group, the Women for Buhari and Osinbajo group, and the Ondo APC Youth League,” the statement read.

Boroffice’s withdrawal has reduced the number of aspirants jostling for the position. Orji Uzor Kalu, Senators Kabiru Gaya, Francis Alimikhena and OvieOmo-Agege are all still in the race.

Meanwhile, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC has formally picked Senator Omo-Agege who represents Delta Central  for the position of Deputy Senate President of the 9th National Assembly.

A statement issued on Monday in Abuja by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu said the decision was taken at an emergency meeting held in Abuja.

Issa-Onilu said that the meeting also endorsed Mallam Muhammed Wase as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives after consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari, party stakeholders and APC State Governors.

The APC had earlier adopted Senator Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila as its candidates for the positions of Senate President and Speaker of House Representatives respectively.

“All elected APC members in the Senate and House of Representatives are hereby directed to fully mobilize as a united force behind the party’s choice. Members who have earlier signified interests in these positions are urged to support the party’s decisions as loyal and committed members,” the statement said.

He further disclosed that such party members should work with other members to ensure the emergence of the adopted candidates, adding that details of other positions in the two chambers would be made public in due course.