Senator Godswill Akpabio has gotten more support to become the leader of the 10th Senate as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu urged lawmakers not to go against the All Progressives Congress (APC) zoning arrangement.
Tinubu made the call at a meeting with APC Senators-Elect on Wednesday night in Abuja, according to a statement by the Akpabio/Jibrin Media Team.
The APC last month zoned the position of Senate President to the South-South with Senator Godswill Akpabio as the preferred candidate and Senator Jubrin Barau from North West preferred as deputy Senate President.
Others are the Speaker of the House of Representatives (North-West) – Abass Tajudeen (Kaduna); and Deputy Speaker, South East-Hon. Ben Kalu (Abia).
Addressing over 40 APC Senators-elect led by Senator Akpabio at the Aso Rock Villa Wednesday night, President Tinubu appealed to all APC Senators-elect to toe the line of the party’s zoning arrangement in electing their Presiding Officers stressing “this is the right thing to do in support of the Renewed Hope agenda” of his administration.
“At this point of our history and challenges facing us as a new administration, all hands must be on deck to salvage the unpalatable situation facing the nation. We must see the situation as a pan-Nigerian Project for the Executive and the Legislature to work out solutions to the challenges of the nation,” he told the Senators-elect.
Tinubu said: “The task ahead to finding solutions to the myriads of national problems cannot come from the Executive arm of government alone but by the working together of the Executive and the Legislature.”
He added that Senators-elect should reach out and pass the appeal to other APC Senators-elect unavoidably absent to toe the party line and put a leash on all personal ambition in favour of party programme and national interest.
“Talk to your colleagues that are not here to toe the party line and give the Renewed Hope agenda a chance to succeed. The elephant is big enough for all members and indeed Nigerians to have a share of the Renewed Hope in due course,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senator Ali Ndume has said that President Tinubu told him to lead campaign for Akpabio.
“The President told me that his preferred candidate is Akpabio and I should lead the campaign,” Ndume said on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday.
According to the lawmaker who has been in the National Assembly for 20 years, out of the 109 elected Senators in the red chamber, 75 have queued behind the ambition of Akpabio as of today.
Admitting strong competition from the camp of the former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who is another top contender for the position of the Senate President, Ndume said the Akpabio camp has all the advantages.
“As at today I am telling you we have 75 senators. All advantages are on our side. We have the support of the party, we have the support of the president, and most importantly we have the support of most of the senators. These senators signed up to endorse our programme,” he said.
While maintaining confidence in the ability of the Akpabio camp to carry the day during the election, the Borno lawmaker did not rule out surprises as he acknowledged that people can change their mind at the last minute.
“Let’s say that some people will jump over at the last minute, that can happen, but I am very confident. I don’t want to be overconfident because people can change their mind, but we have a better candidate.
“We have two candidates that are in front now, that is Yari and Akpabio and our candidate has all the advantages over the other candidate, politically and intellectually, we have an added advantage,” Ndume stated.