…. Contest will be based on constitutional provisions – Yari
Outgoing Governor of Kano State,Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje,has dropped the strongest hint so far about the chances of former Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio emerging as the next Senate President.
Ganduje spoke in Calabar on Thursday ahead of a meeting yesterday of All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders agreeing on Akpabio choice for the job.
The APC leaders,including Bola Tinubu; the party’s National Chairman Abdullahi Adamu; Deputy National Chairman (North) Senator Abubakar Kyari; Deputy National Chairman (South) Chief Emma Enukwu; and the National Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore also penciled down Dr.Abbas Tajudeen, House of Representatives Committee Chairman for Land Transport from Kaduna State as the Speaker of the 10th House of Reps.
Akpabio is one of the dozen or so senators -elect aspiring for the office.
Also supporting him are many Senators- elect from across the political divide.
Also at yesterday’s meeting of the APC were the incumbent Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, current House of Reps Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege
Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi said yesterday that he had withdrawn from the Senate Presidency contest in favour of Akpabio.
Umahi said he took the decision after meeting Tinubu to intimate him about his interest in the position.
Tinubu,according to the governor ,however told him he was already committed on the issue.
A source close to the meeting said:”Conscious of the 2015 experience and the inability of the party to give aspirants direction, the President-elect is not disposed to the free-for-all rat race that the struggle for the Presiding Officers positions of the 10th National Assembly was gravitating to and he made it clear to the party leadership during the meeting.
“It will be recalled that a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party recently complained of unethical moves by some National Assembly members-elect jostling for NASS leadership to influence the process,a move that he said may hurt governance and the incoming administration.
“So, at the meeting, the President-elect told them his preference which the party leadership accepted and the meeting directed the National Working Committee and the leadership of the 9th Assembly to work out a modality of getting other aspirants to buy into the zoning and consensus arrangement.”
Ganduje,had on Thursday said an Akpabio Senate Presidency was a done deal.
“The Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will come from the South-south and it is no other person than the former governor of Akwa Ibom,” Ganduje said in Calabar during a meeting with his Cross River State counterpart, Ben Ayade.
He added: “The uncommon governor, the uncommon minister is going to be the uncommon president of the senate. So we have resolved that.
“I am giving you assurance, we are waiting for the D-Day that he will be the Senate President of Nigeria.”
Ayade expressed joy at the news.
“I want to thank you so much for zoning the Senate President to the South-South and to our brother from a neighbouring state who is also part of Cross River State,” the governor said.
“We want to thank you for this great opportunity because our dream of a Bakassi seaport is becoming very real.”
Chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Professor Ibrahim Gambari,was present at the meeting.
The Calabar statement came on the heels of the drama that played out at the State Banquet organised for President-elect Bola Tinubu in Port Harcourt by Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.
On that occasion, Tinubu called out Akpabio to address the gathering.
To the surprise of all,the immediate past Niger Delta Affairs Minister was followed to the podium by about 40 Senators-elect including Alhaji Jibrin Barau who some people believe could be paired with him as Deputy Senate President.
Akpabio himself said the number could have been higher if all his ‘friends’ from the Senate had made the trip to Port Harcourt.
A video also trended on Twitter yesterday showing Akpabio as he introduced Senators-elect to Tinubu one after the other as he made to depart the city at the end of his two-day visit to Rivers State.
Political observers see the development as a strong pointer to where the pendulum is likely to swing when the Senate is inaugurated next month
Former Zamfara State governor and an aspirant to the office of Senate President, Abdulaziz Yari, said yesterday that the contest for the position would be based on constitutional provisions and not instructions by anyone.
Yari at a meeting with the executives of the Tinubu Shettima Network (TSN), headed by its National Chairman, Dr Kailani Muhammad, in Abuja described the contest as senators’ business, backed by the constitution to choose their leader.
“The senate presidency is senators’ business and on the ‘D- day’ when we are going to elect our president, we will do the needful,” he said.
“When we do that, we are not for anybody. We are doing what the constitution says- that we should take our leader within ourselves.
“That is what the sections of the constitution stated very clearly. What is going to happen that day, it is going to happen based on the instructions of the constitution and not for anyone.
“So, we are going to exercise our constitutional rights there.”
He commended the TSN for supporting his cause to become the President of the 10th Senate, saying that the group’s work in the area of mobilizing support for his cause was commendable.
According to him, this is a special session we have with the TSN leadership. If we can recall four weeks ago, I was in their office where I declared my intention to contest for senate presidency.
“I was there to seek their support and all the executives of the body gave their commitments that they were going to give me support for this contest.
“And today, we are to review what happened from then to where we are here today.
“From what we have been seeing and receiving from the media shows clearly that the work is in progress and very excellent. So, the organisation is doing very well,” Yari said.
In his remarks, Muhammad said that the purpose of the meeting was to brief Yari how far the group had gone in terms of mobilisation, adding that it achieved over 70 per cent of the work.
He expressed optimism that the senator-elect would emerge as President of the 10th Senate.
Also Representative Muktar Betara (APC-Borno) who is eyeing the position of the House Speaker is intensifying his lobbying ahead of the election of the leadership of the Green Chamber.
Betara in a statement in Abuja yesterday asked Representatives-elect to keep faith with and be loyal to Nigerians as President Muhammadu Buhari prepares to handover to his successor Bola Tinubu on May 29.
He commended them for their resolve to serve their constituents, saying that power comes from the people to serve the masses.
His words:”We must all be resolute in our quest not only as parliamentarians, but as a united people to do all within our capacity to defend the democratic institution of the National Assembly.
“My speakership aspiration is driven by Nigerians, my colleague Reps-elect and APC members.”
Betara pledged that the 10th Assembly under his watch, would be one united, indivisible legislature that will work harmoniously with all arms of government.
The lawmaker expressed appreciation for the overwhelming support received from the members-elect and Nigerians at large across party lines.
He reiterated commitment towards healthy engagement of all members-elect ahead inauguration of the 10th Assembly.
According to him, the parliament remains the beacon of hope for all citizens, irrespective of religion, tribe, race and political affiliation.
The aspirant assured various stakeholders of his commitment to the ‘Nigerian Project’ and to democratic institutions if elected speaker.
The Betara’s Campaign Organisation,in a separate statement yesterday alleged that ill-motivated publications were being dished out on social media and some national dailies against him by some people.
It said Betara remained committed to the APC which he joined hands with other party faithful to build leading to the victory for the President-elect.
It said:”The ultimate purpose and vision is to ensure that the 10th House of Representatives will be one united, indivisible assembly that will work harmoniously with all arms of government.
It added that the 10th House of Representatives under Betara, will promote a legislative dispensation that will accommodate all opinions in the larger interest of all Nigerians.