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Senate Presidency: Uncertainty, Confusion Trail Akpabio’s Camp



–Kalu, Yari, Musa, Izunaso In Continuous Dialogue

–As APC’s Zoning Formula Collapses

There is uncertainty and confusion in the camp of a former Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who is a strong contender in the race to the Presidency of the 10th Senate.

This is as the camps of other contenders in the Senate Presidency race, in the persons of Senators Orji Uzor Kalu, Abdul’aziz Yari, Sani Musa and Osita Izunaso are in continuous dialogue, to form strong alliance to produce a formidable front for the contest.

This alliance in the offing, if consumated, will will definitely scuttle the contentious zoning arrangement released three weeks ago by the National Working Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

CityMirrorNews had reported on Wednesday that panic erupted in the camp of Akpabio, over alleged withdrawal of support by President Bola Tinubu, for him in the contest for the office of the President of the Senate of the 10th National Assembly.

Following this grapevine, Senators mostly from the South West called for a meeting on Friday where they would review their position and chart a new course on the leadership of the incoming Senate.

A Senator from one of the States in the South West had disclosed to our correspondent on condition of anonymity that the meeting was scheduled for Friday as they wanted to know the outcome of a crucial meeting of the leading tendency among the Senators-elect scheduled for Thursday, which they had strategically asked some of their members to attend.

The leadership of the APC had in an ambiguous press statement three weeks ago, announced the endorsement of Senator Godswill Akpabio and three others for the topmost positions in the National Assembly.

Senator Akpabio from the South-South was endorsed for President of the Senate; Senator Jubrin Barau from North-west for Deputy Senate President, Honourable Tajudeen Abass, North-west for Speaker, House of Representatives and Hon. Kanu, South-East for Deputy Speaker.

The announcement was followed by protests, condemnations and strong criticisms across the country.

While many queried the reasonability of the party allotting two of the six presiding offices in the National Assembly to a zone and leaving the North Central without any position many others criticized the zoning of Deputy Speaker to the South-East instead of presidency of the Senate generally believed to be due to the zone.

In addition, Nigerians were outraged by the micro zoning of the position of Senate President to Senator Godswill Akpabio who is at present being investigated by anti-graft agencies for series of cases bothering on sleaze.

However, Saturday Telegraph checks revealed that President Bola Tinubu, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, met at the Presidential Villa on Thursday where they discussed National Assembly zoning.

Tinubu had asked Lawan and Gbajabiamila to resolve the lingering contentious issue of zoning so that there wouldn’t be strife that would result in unprecedented outcomes on the day of inauguration of the apex Assembly.

Consequently, Lawan and Gbajabiamila appealed to all the aspirants to put their houses in order to avoid rancour on the day of inauguration.

Sequel to this intervention, Saturday Telegraph observed that Godswill Akpabio and Barau Jibrin met at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja on Thursday night for several hours.

Also, the Senate Democratic Caucus, which has the likes of Senators Abdulaziz Yari, Orji Uzor Kalu, Sani Musa and Osita Izunaso, equally met at Destination Hotel in Wuse 2, Abuja.

A source at the Akpabio/Barau’s Stability Group meeting at Transcorp Hilton Hotel told Saturday Telegraph that most of the Senators-elect who were invited to the meeting failed to turn up, indicating that that Akpabio’s chances of emerging the next President of the Senate are gradually diminishing.

The source said, “Invitations were sent out to the senators-elect by the Stability Group for the meeting, which was organised by a prominent Senator from the South West but many of those invited did not turn up.

“It got to a point that some elders of the party like Chief Segun Osoba, and Abu Ibrahim, were invited to the closed-door meeting, which had about 21 senators-Elect in attendance”

Meanwhile, our Saturday Telegraph learnt that another meeting called by the Democratic Caucus group at the Wuse Zone two, was holding simultaneously with the Akpabio group.

A Senator-elect who confirmed the development to our Correspondent, also on conditions of anonymity, said that the turnout of lawmakers-elect at the venue was highly impressive.

He said, “The meeting convened by the Senate Democratic Caucus, had in attendance 57 senators-elect while about 16 others sent in their regrets.

“We are going to take the final decision on the whole matter on Tuesday next week and Nigerians would know that the current zoning arrangements done by the APC had collapsed.”