Senate: Aliero, Tambuwal fire warning shot as Akpabio ‘toys with minority leadership tussle

The long forgotten ‘Banana Peel ‘ which swept off Presidents of the Senate from their seats in succession from 1999 to 2005, is being toyed with by the incumbent President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio.

Akpabio ‘s movement towards the slippery terrain as stated by some senators across party lines over the weekend, is on alleged plan to impose leadership on the minority caucus in the Senate.

Minority caucus of the Senate , comprise of the 36 Senators elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), eight on the platform of Labour Party (LP), two on the platform of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNDP), two on the platform of Social Democratic Party (SDP), one from All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and another one elected on Young Progressives Party (YPP) platform, totalling 50.

The 59 other Senators , belonged to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who apart from the two presiding officers’ positions already occupied by Godswill Akpabio and Jibrin Barau , are also to clinch the principal positions of Senate Leader, Deputy Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Whip.

The four principal positions of Minority Leader, Deputy Minority Leader, Minority Whip and Deputy Minority Whip to be occupied by Senators from the minority caucus, are being pouched by Akpabio and some forces outside the Senate for imposition of lackeys.

Specifically, strategic move towards blocking the choices of PDP for the minority leadership positions of the Senate and the House of Representatives, was made on Thursday last week when the immediate past governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike held marathon meeting with the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio in his office.

Wike who was in black suit, left the Senate wing of the National Assembly at about 6:30pm in the convoy of the Senator Akpabio, Barau and other Senators like Salihu Mustapha (APC Kwara Central), Jibril Isah (APC Kogi East) as well as the recently appointed Senior Special Assistant , National Assembly Matters (Senate) to President Bola Tinubu, Senator Abdullahi Abubakar Gumel.

A highly placed source at the meeting who pleaded for anonymity, told the Blueprint Newspaper that Wike’s plan with the leadership of the Senate, is to have a minority leader not chosen by PDP but by his own faction within the party.

According to the source, though the leadership of both the Senate and the House of Representatives , are being very careful with the plan but at the same time, believe that if Wike succeed in factionalising the caucuses of PDP at both Chambers, having unpopular minority leaders from their folds , are possible.

“Having assisted APC to win Presidential election in Rivers State in February, supported the aspirations of the now elected four presiding officers of the 10th National Assembly at inauguration last week, making his loyalists among the elected federal lawmakers from PDP is his plan now.

“He is very serious on the plan and getting the required support from leadership of the National Assembly as well as membership of the other minority political parties in both the Senate and the House of Representatives,” said the source.

Irked by the move, Senators in the minority caucus, issued a jointly signed strong worded statement on Saturday, warning the President of the Senate to back out of the plot .

The Senators in the statement titled: “Ongoing Attempt to Destabilise Minority Parties in the Senate would be Resisted,” said attempt to foist a one party dictatorship dictatorship in the Senate, would be resisted and would fail.

The statement reads, “It has come to the notice of the Minority Political Parties in the Senate of an attempt by forces inside and outside the Senate, to divide the Minority Parties and foist a pliant and compromised leadership on them.

“We have pledged to work constructively with the new Senate leadership and the Executive branch to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people.

“We consequently hereby advise and caution that they should not aid any group inside or outside the Senate to divide and destabilise the minority parties and the Senate institution.

“Senators of the minority Parties would meet when the Senate reconvenes and, in consultation with our respective political parties, would select its leaders without undue interference from anti democratic forces within or outside the Senate.

“Attempt to foist a one party dictatorship would be resisted and would fail.

“We call on all members of the Minority Political Parties to work together in unity to defend the democratic institution of the Senate and Nigeria”.

Apart from Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe of APGA, Senators of the other minority political parties , signed the statement.

They are Senators Muhammad Adamu Aliero (PDP Kebbi Central), Henry Seriake Dickson (PDP Bayelsa West), Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (PDP Sokoto South ), Abdul Ningi (PDP Bauchi Central), Patrick Abba Moro (PDP Benue South), Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi (Labour Party Imo East), Sumaila Kawu (NNPP Kano South) and
Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah (YPP Anambra South).

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