Despite the adoption of Senator Godswill Akpabio as the preferred candidate for Senate President by the All Progressive Congress (APC), some members-elect of the 10th National Assembly have vowed to make independent choices of leaders at the inauguration of the parliament.
Recall that the ruling APC had on Monday announced Akpabio as its consensus candidate while picking Hon. Tajudeen Abbas for the speakership of the House.
The decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership to pick former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswil Akpabio as its choice of Senate President has suffered more setbacks as some senators-elect has vowed to resist the move.
A senator-elect who spoke to our correspondent noted that a considerable number of his colleagues are committed to ensuring the realisation of their choice of the former chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Abdulaziz Yari and Orji Uzor Kalu.
The senator-elect from the North West zone who pleaded not to be named, described the actions of the President-elect, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, as not only disappointing but provocative.
He alleged that the former governor played a major role in the prison incarceration of his political rivals in the realisation of his ambition.
The North West Senator, however, insisted that the plot to install Akpabio as a puppet leader for the 10th Senator would be thwarted. “Akpabio is considered a strong enemy of the Senate as an institution with his records of backstabbing and series of betrayals of his own kinsmen. The plan of the APC to impose a candidate to the National Assembly is dead on arrival.”
According to the Senator, Tinubu denied other contestants the privilege of an open contest which he enjoyed.
Another returning Senator from the North-West region described Tinubu’s endorsement as dictatorship.
The zoning formula was reported to have provoked the senators-elect to reinvigorate their earlier quest to vote for their choice in the duo of Abdulaziz Yari and current Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu for the top two leadership positions in the Senate.
“President Buhari, Northern Governors and the APC pushed for zoning of the Presidency to the South without selecting any preferred Presidential candidate but rather allowed an open contest to give all candidates from the region equal opportunity.
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“Tinubu would have stood no chance of becoming President if the President and the Party Leadership had drafted a candidate into the contest. Describing the plan as undemocratic and affront to the sanctity of the Senate, the Lawmaker revealed that such a move will not sail through,” he added.
A third-term Senator from North East also disclosed that northern Senators were working across party lines to ensure a revenge against Tinubu for stoking the confusion that attended the inauguration of Eighth Senate.
He explained that the activities of Tinubu in the lead up to the inauguration of the Eighth NASS were being reviewed by influential political leaders from the zone, stressing that it has been discovered that the President-elect wanted to be the power behind the throne in 2015.
While dismissing Akpabio’s endorsement, a Senator Elect from the South-south said that in 2019 the party avoided the mistake of foisting their prefered candidate on the legislature but rather announced the zoning of the No:3 position to the North East which availed candidates from the region to test their popularity at the floor of the Senate in which the current Senate President , Ahmad Lawan later emerged after defeating Senate Ali Ndume.
“Forcing candidates on the legislature is against the provisions of the constitution,” the Senator who also preferred not be disclosed said.
He added that, “We won’t be cowed to the bidding of the President elect , as a matter of fact we already have our own candidates who we are sure will work in the best interest of Nigerians , acrimony free Senate and also the executive arm of Government. To say the least we are confident in the joint ticket of Senator Yari and Orji Kalu. Either of them are good to go for any of the two positions of Senate President and Deputy Senate President.”