Three Senators-elect who had been vying for the presidency of the 10th Senate set to be inaugurated in June 2023, have withdrawn their candidacies and threw their support behind one of the leading contenders, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
According to reports, this was after a two-hour closed-door meeting with re-elected Senators from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Ebonyi State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, on Friday, May 5, 2023.
It was gathered that former Senate Leader Senator Ali Ndume, Chairman of Senate Appropriation Committee Senator Jubrin Barau, and outgoing Governor of Ebonyi State Dave Umahi announced that they had agreed upon a consensus candidate in the interest of peace and national inter
The trio also revealed that the meeting had resolved to present Barau as the Deputy President of the next National Assembly.
According to Ndume, “ We have all deferred to our brother to fly the flag of the APC as Senate President of the 10th National Assembly. We know he has the capacity to lead the Red Chamber of the federal legislature.”
Umahi said, “Akpabio came on consultation with me but yesterday, I saw the President-elect, Bola Tinubu on his invitation and he told me that he’s already committed.
“He said, Please don’t run and I accepted to step down for Senator Akpabio for Senate President and Senator Barau for Deputy Senate President.”
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Akpabio expressed his gratitude for the confidence his colleagues had placed in him and pledged not to let them down in his efforts to advance the National Assembly.
Following this meeting, Akpabio and his team held another gathering with new APC Senators at Frazier Suites in Abuja.
In a related development, the President-elect, Bola Tinubu on Friday reportedly endorsed the former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
Sources that spoke with the Leadership on the outcome of the meeting between Tinubu and some party leaders at his’s residence in Abuja said Lawan made a move to stop Akpabio’s Senate Presidency ambition.
Tinubu, however, insisted on his choice to support Akpabio as the Senate President of the 10th Senate.
The meeting presided over by Tinubu also had the national chairman of APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu; APC’s national secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore; APC’s deputy national chairman, (North), Senator Abubakar kyari and deputy national chairman (South), Chief Emma Eneukwu, in attendance.
Also at the meeting were the president of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan; deputy president of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
It was learnt that Tinubu endorsed Akpabio as the next Senate President, while Senator Barau Jubrin from Kano North Senatorial District was picked as Deputy Senate President.
In the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbass (Zaria federal constituency) was selected as Speaker, while the Deputy Speaker position went to Benjamin Kalu (Bende federal constituency).
The source close to the meeting said, “The zoning of the various leadership positions in the National Assembly by APC was made public today after a meeting presided over by the Presidents-elect in Abuja.
“The positions of Senate president; deputy Senate president; Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House were given to Senator Godswill Akpabio, Senator Barau Jubrin, Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu, in that order.
“The outgoing Senate president, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who renewed his opposition to Akpabio as his successor, could not have his way as his position was turned down by the president-elect. Lawan was overwhelmed and had no option than to succumb.
Those who opposed the zoning of Speaker of the House and deputy president of the Senate to the North West were also shut down. We now have an inexplicable situation where the two positions were zoned to one geopolitical zone. The exclusion of the North Central from power-sharing generated serious ripples at the meeting but everyone has to bow to the superior position of the president-elect.”