Senator Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- Strong indications, yesterday, suggested that senators, mainly from the South West, have called for a meeting for tomorrow, where they would take a decision to work towards reviewing their position on choice of leadership of the Senate.
This is coming amid speculations that the candidacy of former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, may have hit a brick wall, as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is said to have withdrawn his support for him in the contest for the Senate President in the 10th National Assembly.
Recall that the All Progressives Congress, APC, had announced the endorsement of Senator Godswill Akpabio and three others for the topmost positions in the National Assembly.
Senator Akpabio from South-South was endorsed for Senate president, Senator Jubrin Barau from North-West for Deputy Senate President, Tajudeen Abass, North-West for speaker, House of Representatives and Kanu, South-East, for deputy speaker.
This did not, however, go down well with some members of the party, especially those aspiring for the position of presiding offices in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, following the protests and condemnation that trailed the party’s endorsements.
According to a senator from one of the states in the South West, the meeting is for senators from the zone to know the outcome of a crucial meeting of the leading tendency among the senators-elect scheduled for Thursday which they have strategically asked some of their members to attend.
President Tinubu is said to have heeded the advice of his trusted political allies by tacitly withdrawing his support for Akpabio.
The President, sources said, was resolute in running a corruption-free government, with emphasis on strengthening all the existing policies and institutions concerned with anti-corruption towards achieving this goal.
In his inaugural speech, Tinubu declared pointedly that his government would take” proactive steps such as championing a credit culture to discourage corruption, while strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of the various anti-corruption agencies.”
With this statement, the source said ”most of us have come to the full realization of the fact that President Bola Tinubu would not for anything support any senator with myriads of cases of corruption in the anti-graft agencies after declaring before the world that he would strengthen and make them more effective.”
A senator from one of the state in the S-West confided in Vanguard: “We have seen the follies in remaining in this camp, it will not work. We have fixed a meeting for Thursday where we are going to chart our next line of action.”
However, the Director General for the Akpabio/Barau Stability Group, Senator Ali Ndume, APC, Borno South, said in his reaction to the development yesterday: “It is not surprising that whenever a politically exposed person is contesting elections, some people would be sponsored to raise issues against him or her.
“Don’t forget that President Bola Tinubu was also severally accused when he was campaigning to be president.”
“We are not actually bothered about what the sponsored groups are saying about Akpabio, the anti-graft agencies know what to do. Why are they teaching them what to do?
“They are alleging that some corrupt activities took place under his watch at the NDDC but they did not say he misappropriated funds as governor or as minister.
“Akpabio was not the accounting officer of the NDDC, he only supervised the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
“They also accused him of not constituting the board of the NDDC but that also was not his job. The president of the country is saddled with such responsibility.”