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NASS: Anti-Akpabio forces intensify impeachment threat

The announcement of the duo of senators Abba Moro and Osita Ngwu, both of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), as Minority Leader and Minority Whip, respectively, has created a rift among the minority caucus last week, with a member of the Labour Party, representing Anambra North, Senator Tony Nwoye, openly confronting the senate president at plenary.


Nwoye declared that the opposition senators were not slaves of the senate president, adding that they were all elected to represent a constituency the same way Akpabio was elected.


Investigations by News Direct indicated that the ranks of the senators opposed to Akpabio’s leadership immediately swelled following that altercation on the floor, with many said to have signed on to the impeachment plot.


A source said that the emergence of the minority leaders was against the procedures and conventions in the Senate whereby the minority parties are to submit names of the adopted persons for leadership positions.

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What happened in this case is that the Senate president chose the leadership of the opposition parties, due to the fear of an uprising in the chamber. The belief is that with firm control of the ruling party caucus and the opposition leadership, nobody would be able to unseat the Senate president,” said a source in the know.

It was, however, gathered that the appointed minority leaders would largely remain lame duck because they may not be able to rally the support of their members towards a clear direction.


Sources indeed said that the ranks of those opposed to Akpabio as Senate President have continued to grow, despite the fact that the Senate president is in control of principal officers of both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the PDP.


This news platform was told that despite spirited efforts by a section of PDP senators to insist on the emergence of a North-East senator as minority leader, the signature drive by the forces that want Senator Abba Moro overwhelmed the bid.


Some sources alleged that an amount in the region of $2,000 might have been spent to secure each of the signatures in favour of the preferred candidates.


The Senate president, in announcing the two leadership positions, said that 41 opposition senators endorsed Abba Moro, while 30 senators endorsed Osita Ngwu.


The emergence has not only divided the opposition lawmakers, it is also tearing down the unity that existed among lawmakers from the South-East, a senator said, adding that following the experience from the 4th and the 5th Senate when the South-East rotated the seat of Senate president among the five states, a decision had been taken that no SouthEast Senator would backstab the other anymore.


The source stated that the decision was responsible for the retention of Senator Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President in the two terms of Senator David Mark’s Senate Presidency (6th and 7th Senate), while he also retained the same position in the 8th Senate.

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A source in the know said, “The emergence of Ngwu has only thrown up the undue rivalry we used to witness among South-East senators especially what gave the South-East a bad name in the 4th and 5th Senate, when the position of Senate president went round the five states.


“The position of minority whip was meant for the Labour Party and the party has seven members in the Sen-ate. Why throw open the slot when all that was needed was for the seven Senators of LP to decide among themselves and submit a name?” Sources further added that the decision to rely on the signatures of senators rather than a joint decision of the opposition parties and the senators was setting a dangerous precedent which may do the Senate more harm.


“Now that the reliance is on signatures, we understand that those opposed to the Senate president are also embarking on the signature drive,” another source stated.


A source further said: “The four positions including majority leader, the deputy, majority whip and the deputy as well as the posts of minority leader, minority whip and their deputies are positions of the political parties. the tradition is that the political party(ies) involved would write to the Senate president through its caucus in the chamber, nominating those who will occupy the slots.


By relying on the signatures of senators to determine the candidates for the positions, the Senate is redrafting the rules and convention.”


It was, however, learnt that the Senate president is aware of the threat against his leadership and that he is relying on the ranking senators to stabilise the chamber under his control.


Besides, it was learnt that the absence of a rallying senator from either the South-South or South-East who could succeed Akpabio has to some extent muted the push for his ouster at this time.


With Akpabio’s emergence, the seat of the Senate president has practically been zoned to the South-South, but the amendment of the Senate Rule Book, to indicate that only ranking senators can aspire to lead the chamber meant a dearth of ranking members from that zone.


Only Senator Adams Oshiomhole,a non-ranking senator from Edo North attempted to contest the seat with Akpabio, before news emerged that the Akwa-Ibom lawmaker had been endorsed by the APC.


Another factor said to be working in favour of Akpabio right now is the North/South divide in the appointment of Senate president.


When former President Muhammadu Buhari led the country, the nation’s number three seat was retained by the North. The same logic was adopted by the presidency under Bola Tinubu, which zoned the slot to the South once he emerged as president.


Sources close to the lawmakers, however, stated that the whole issue would depend on the “sins” of Akpabio, adding that if the sins continue to grow, the lawmakers might jettison the zoning arrangement and the North South divide and then opt for a lawmaker from any of the zones that they believe could protect their interests.