How Akpabio Emerged Senate President; Abbas, Speaker Of House Of Representatives

  By Suleiman Umaru

 More facts have emerged why Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom state, south-south Nigeria, and one- time minister of the Niger   Delta Affairs during ex- President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration, has emerged Senate President, and   Jibrin Barau, from Kano state, in   the north western geopolitical region, as the Deputy Senator President.

 Tajudeen Ababas, representing Zaria Federal Constituency in the north western state of Kaduna, emerging  the Speaker of the House Of Representatives and Benjamin Kalu from the south eastern state of Abia, elected as the Deputy Speaker, of the Green Chamber.

Prior to the election of the Principal officers and the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, Abdulahhi Gandunje, a for governor of Kano state had told Prof Benedict Ayade, a former governor of Cross river state, during a visit last May, that   the decision ‘’ to nominate Akpabio, the former governor of Akwa Ibom state as the next Senate President has been sealed’’.

The former Kano state governor had revealed that ‘’it was a decision of Bola Ahmed Tnubu,  the President-elect , who has been sworn in as President and Commander-In-Chief, C-In-C, of the  Nigerian Armed Forces,  and Senator Abudullahi Adamu, former governor of Nasarawa state, led  All Progressive Congress, APC, National Executive Council.,NEC.

 He was emphatic that  Tinubu,    has concluded plans  to pair the former Akwa Ibom state governor,  described in political circles  as ‘’the uncommon  governor,  the uncommon minister and  Senator Jibrin Barau,  as Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively.The former Kano state governor had said that it was a matter of time for the party decision to manifest.

Informed sources told The Value News that the former minister of the Niger Delta Affairs and Barau, were among the nine contenders for the senate presidency of the 10th National Assembly that was inaugurated on June 13, 2023. The source disclosed that the former Lagos state had    communicated his decision to the duo at a meeting that was said to have held at Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

President Bola Ahmed Tinnubu: Facilitated Akpabio’s Election As Senate President

In preparing how the ground  o how the  10th National Assembly Leadership would ook like, Tinubu  was said to have  met  with Senators  Akpabio and Barau, alongside   Senator Opeyemi  Bamidele  and  Governor Biodun Oyenaji, of Ekiti state, where he was said to have  asked Barau, ‘’to drop his bid for the Senate Presidency  in the interest of national cohesion , fairness and religious balancing’’. Barau , was said to have also been prevailed upon by the Leadership of the party as well   to sacrifice his  ambition  in the interest  of peace and tranquility  in the country.

It was therefore not surprising why he bowed to such pressure to drop his ambition to contest for the Senate President position but to pair up with Akpabio.  Senator Abdullaziz Yari, a former governor of Zamfara , a state under the siege of Bandits Group, who had  refused to shelve his plan to contest against Senator Akpabio, the party sponsored Candidate was allowed to do so.

Akpabio: Senate President, Taking Oath Of Office

. Many believe that the principal officers of the 10th National Assembly had emerged without rancour because the Lagos state born Nigerian President and the Leadership of the APC, has endorsed them.

Until the 10th National Assembly was inaugurated on June 13, 2023, to start their full Legislative work, the trio of  Hope Uzodinma, governor of Imo state and Chairman , APC, Governors Forum, , Babajide Sanwo-olu,  his Counterpart in Lagos state and Gandunje, the   immediate past governor of Kano state never relented in  working for the  emergence of  Akpabio and Barau, as the Senate President and Deputy Senate President repectively or for  Abbas , to  occupy the position  of the speaker of the House of Representatives vacated by Femi Gbajabiamila, now Chief of Staff to the President .

   There is no gain saying the fact that if Tinubu and the APC, Leadership, have not intervened to know to edorse those that will emrge as the Princiofficers of the N 10th ,National Assembly, particular, the Position of the Senate President and Speaker , House of Represeatives, it would have been a different ball game. There would been arepeat of the 2015 incident where  Senator Bukola Saraki , a former governor of Kwara state , had teamed up with the opposition People Democratic, PDP, Senators to get elected as the Senate President  while Yakubu Dogara, emerged as the  Speaker of the House of Representatives against the ruling APC, preferred Candidates.

. The emergence of the duo, as the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 8th National Assembly, appears to have made Buhari’s first term in office as Nigeria’s elected  President a not too pleasant experience because of the frosty relations between the National Assembly and the Executive arm of  government  as the parties operated like ‘’Cat and Dog’’.

 The situation was so bad that he could not get all his executive bills passed by the Senate, let alone his requests to borrow from the World Bank /International Monetary Fund, IMF, and other Multilateral Financial institutions, including the Paris Club and the London club or the Asian country of China Development Bank granted.

In electing  the Principal officers and inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, on June 13, 2023, Akpabio, the new Senate President was said to have met the Nigerian President at the Villa to rub mind with him and to reassure him of the red Chamber’s Cooperation. He was said to have been accompanied on the visit to the villa by the trio of governors Uzodinma,  Sanwo-Olu and Gandunje, the former governor of Kano state .

 In spite of the overwhelming support which Akpabio , the former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, had from the party Leadership, to be elected the next Senate President, Senator  Yari, who  had refused to drop out from the race, like Barau and others, but to  slug it  out with Akpabio.

Political watchers believe that both not for the intervention of the President and the involvement of the governors  Uzodinma,  Sanwo-Olu and Gandunje, the immediate governor of Kano state to do the underground work for Akpabio, history would have repeated itself  as Senator Yari was determined to team up with the Opposition  PDP, Senators to defeat, Senator Akpabio, described as the government Candidate for the Senate  President.

 This is evident going by the voting pattern in the red Chamber as the former Akwa Ibom state governor had pulled 63 votes to Yari’s 46 votes.  Note that there are 109 Senators, in the red Chamber. The ruling APC, has 59 Senators in the Chamber, the highest by any party,.  It was said to have been quickly followed by  the Opposition PDP, which has 36 Senators, Labour Party, LP, eight, Social Democratic Party, SDP and New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP two Senators each,  while the Young Progressives Party, YPP, and All Progressive Grand Alliance , APGA, have one Senator each , in the red Chamber.

Hon. Tajudeen Abbas: Speaker House Of Reps

Prior to the election of the Principal officers and  inauguration of the 10th National Assembly,  Senator Yari, described as a top-ranking Chieftain of the APC and a former governor of the north western state of Zamfara,  and his loyalists had protested  to the President and Senator Abdullahi Adamu, a  former governor of Nasarawa state and the party National Chairman, over their endorsement of  Akpabio, calling on them  to review their stand  to create a level playing field  for the contestants into the various offices in the Senate and the House of Representatives but that was how far they could go.

Senator Yari’s Camp, according to informed sources were said to have vehemently  rejected the position of the  party, insisting that  the party  zoning formula, must be reviewed  on the grounds that ‘’the north west geopolitical region  gave the President Tinubu  the highest vote during the last Presidential election   and therefore deserves ‘’to be compensated’’.

 There indications that some concerned APC, Senators from the north west region who did not want the party to lose the Senate Presidency to the Opposition   who had asked the former Zamfara state governor to respect the President and the party Leadership’s anointed Candidates for the Principal position of the 10th National Assembly, with Akpabio as the Senate President and Barau , as the Deputy Senate President.

 His stubbornness ‘’to fight to the finish’’, may have informed why the party Leadership allowed him to go ahead and try his luck. He did but lost to Senator Akpabio , who has  President Tinubu and the party Leadership’s support.  The former Akwa Ibom state governor, who has emerged as the Senate President in a closely contested election with his main challenger, Senator Yari, has been sworn in as the President  of the Senate for the 10th National Assembly   and Abbas , as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.     

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