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Godswill Akpabio
Senate President

"If Akpabio is confident in his leadership there is no need to request such from us." Senate sources.

"Casting a vote of confidence on Akpabio may bring into public knowledge a further confirmation that Akpabio’s leadership is indeed threatened."

Senate President, Godswill Akpabio's  orchestrated move to extract votes of confidence from his colleagues fell flat on its face penultimate Tuesday in the Hallowed Red Chambers of the National Assembly.

According to information available, the plan designed to convince members of the Nigerian Senate to confer a confidence vote on Akpabio was rejected as majority of the Lawmakers decimated the Agenda.

The internal crisis brewing in the Senate assumed another dimension before the commencement of the day's plenary as majority of the parliamentarians refused to key into the plan believed to be orchestrated by the Senate President's allies on the behest of the Chairman of the National Assembly.

According to the Lawmakers who perished the agenda, casting a vote of confidence on Akpabio may bring into public knowledge a further confirmation that Akpabio’s leadership is indeed threatened. The Lawmakers maintained that if Akpabio is confident in his leadership there is no need to request such from them, adding that it would amount to shooting himself on the foot.

The latest development is against the backdrop of last week's uproar that rocked the Red Chambers following the announcement made by Akpabio on the new minority leadership positions. The chaos saw Senators from the opposition draw daggers with Akpabio over the pronouncements of Abba Moro, senator representing Benue south, as minority leader and Osita Ngwu, senator representing Enugu west, as minority whip.

One of the aggrieved Senators Tony Nwoye of the Labour Party accused Akpabio of misleading the Senate having influenced the selection process of the minority leadership to his favour. Nwoye yelled at the presiding officer; “Are we your slaves? Why will the senate president be picking leaders for us? We were elected just the way you were elected. You have done your worst."

Apparently perturbed by the unabated series of crises that has continued to threaten his stay in office, Akpabio and his allies which had the inclusion of Senate Leader Opeyemi Bamidele,  Senator Solomon Adeola had perfected the plans within the nocturnal hours of the Monday.

The reason behind the motive as revealed by a Northern Senator who spoke under the condition of anonymity disclosed that it was to demonstrate to President Tinubu who was to present the 2024 budget the next day (Wednesday) that Akpabio is in charge of the Senate which ironically isn't the case. 

According to the Lawmaker the meeting was attended by some Senators who were still loyal to the fold that were involved in the actualization of Akpabio’s Senate presidency. Spilling further, the Northern Lawmaker let out that the agenda led to a sharp divide amongst the Senators as most of them criticized the idea while others embraced it.

Moreover as divulged by the Senator, concerned Lawmakers and political allies of Akpabio were said to have intimated the Wife of Senate President Mrs. Ekaette Akpabio who in turn faulted the plan as she implored them to jettison her husband's scheme.

It was however agreed that before the commencement of Tuesday's plenary a motion for a vote of confidence would be moved by one of them. To accomplish their mission the Senators were urged to convince their fellow colleagues to key into the agenda as the Senators once they entered the Red Chambers before the Senate president called the Senate sitting to order.

Unfortunately entreaties made by Akpabio’s allies fell on deaf ears as most of the Senators particularly from the Northern extraction declined to cast their votes in favour of the Senate Leadership under the allegedly troubled Akpabio.

As observed by a reporter who covered Tuesday's plenary, Senator Solomon and his cohorts were sighted prancing from one Senator's seat to another. The Senators could be heard murmuring and nodding their heads in disagreement with the offer. 

Upon realization that their agenda wasn't going to see the light of the day the obviously saddened Senators loyal to the Presiding officer hurriedly returned to their seats.

Akpabio already seated at the podium having noticed what was happening immediately called the Senate sitting to order followed by the reading of letters of communication from President Tinubu the request to approve a fresh loan of $8.6 billion and €100 million earmarked for the execution of vital projects in various sectors of the economy.

Questioning their motive another Northwest Senator described the ploy as laughable adding that it was a proof that Akpabio’s reign as President is endangered.

His words; "If he's doing well he shouldn't be asking for a vote of confidence, Akpabio and his cronies planned it outside the Senate to rally others to cast a vote of confidence on the leadership of the Senate President.

"He is shooting himself on the leg because he is not doing well. Some concerned Lawmakers and his political allies informed his Wife about the preempted move of her husband and she persuaded the Senators to drop the idea.

"Many Northern Senators refused to vote, they discussed it outside the Senate but it failed immediately they brought it into the Chambers, all is not well with Akpabio’s Senate," the Lawmaker retorted.

Since the inauguration of the 10th Senate on the 13th of June the leadership of the Senate under the former Akwa-Ibom Governor has been enmeshed in unwonted comatose.

Akpabio has been accused of capitalizing on the ignorance of the new Senators many of whom populate the 10th Senate  to foist his selfish agenda especially in the leadership of Senate committees, budgeting, Presidential requests amongst others. 

Notable among the Senators who opposed Godswill Akpabio leadership was Senator Ndume, the Senate Chief Whip. Senator Ali Ndume, stormed out during plenary in October to protest the refusal of the Senate president, Godswill Akpabio, to address alleged procedural errors.

Ndume, a prominent loyalist of Akpabio raised a point of order to draw the Senate President’s attention to alleged procedural errors committed by him which were yet to be corrected.

The Campaign Director General for Akapbio’s Senate Presidency raised a point of order, citing order 54 of the Senate Rule Book drawing the attention of the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, on the way he handles affairs in the Red Chambers, stating that it is against the rules.

But Akpabio immediately ruled Ndume out of order on the ground that he was referring to a wrong order. Ndume became furious and immediately stormed out of the chamber angrily and went straight to his office. Following this action, Akpabio quickly called for an emergency closed session at about 12.24pm.

Also recall that in the same Month, Ndume had slammed Akpabio for approving the passage of some executive bills without seeking the input of his colleagues.

He said, “Very sensitive bills are brought and are expected to be passed with the speed of light, which is not good for the country.

"Every senator here is supposed to be adequately informed; he does his research and makes a positive contribution, but in a situation where even money bills are brought and expected to be passed within two hours, it wouldn’t be better for the country.

"Sir, you are on the seat today; history will judge you that things like this are not good for this country," Ndume warned.

Over the past months there have been strong indications about moves to impeach the Senate President and effect a change in the leadership over Akapbio’s alleged insensitivity to the demands of senators, sidelining of some ranking senators in the headship of committees, kowtowing to President Tinubu and unsavoury role during the screening and confirmation of ministerial nominees in August.

Akpabio also unleashed the fury of Nigerians over his remarks in August during the conclusion of the Ministerial screening when he informed his colleagues that "monies had been sent to their individual accounts by Clerk of the National Assembly, Magaji Tambuwal, to enable them enjoy their vacation."

Akpabio came under heavy verbal attacks over his remarks which he made on Monday night while announcing adjournment of plenary and the lawmakers annual recess.

He said:” In order to enable all of us to enjoy our holidays, a token has been sent to our various accounts by the clerk of the national assembly,” he said.

In the video, two of his colleagues stepped forward to inform him that the Senate plenary was being televised live, Senator Akpabio in a desperate recant, said, ” I withdraw that statement.”

“In order to allow you to enjoy your holiday, the senate President has sent prayers to your mailboxes to assist you to go on a safe journey and return".

The embattled Senate President was also accused of making jest of the Nigerians due to their economic plight. In August, a video of Senators led by Akpabio went viral on social media. The content of the video which Nigerians translated as mocking the poor using the “let the poor breathe” slang.

Let the poor breathe is a line from one of President Bola Tinubu’s June 12 speech which cut up on social media and went viral.

The Akapabio’s joke elicited several reactions online with many of the reactions condemning the joke as being in bad taste.

The distasteful joke was sequel to a request made to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and 11 Electricity Distribution Companies to postpone their proposed pricing rise by the Senate as it was considering a resolution in order to “let the poor breathe”.

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, was heard chuckling with other senators in the video that went viral on social media on Wednesday after he said, “Let the poor breathe,” before slamming the gavel down on the table.

More recently, lawmakers who are in silent loggerheads with Akpabio over his disrespect to them and the institution of senate frowned at Akpabio’s action on the signed N2. 176 trillion Supplementary Appropriation Act. Akpabio reportedly betrayed the committee chairmen by having back deals with the MDAs which is against the norms of the senate.

Accusations of Akpabio’s high handedness climaxed when the now sacked Adamawa Senator Ishaku Abbo, accused the Senate president  of orchestrating his removal from the 10th Senate.

Abbo, a member of the Progressives Congress (APC), made this allegation on Monday, October 16, while speaking with journalists shortly after his removal by the Court of Appeal.

In what he described as a targeted move against him and four colleagues, Abbo stated that his removal was retaliation for opposing Akpabio’s Senate Presidency aspiration.

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