Attempts by the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, to impose his prefered leadership candidates on the forthcoming Senate has suffered a setback, as Senators-elect have vowed to resist the plot and forge ahead with their plans to elect their own candidates.
APC announced the zoning formula of the party on Monday. The move has provoked the Senators-elect to reinvigorate their earlier quest to vote for current Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu and Abdulaziz Yari for the top two leadership positions.
Contrary to an open contest which he benefitted from during the presidential primary of his party, Tinubu had reportedly endorsed the candidatures of Godswill Akpabio and Barau Jibrin for Senate president and deputy which was further ratified by the APC at a press conference held on Monday at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja.
Prominent North West Senator-elect who pleaded not to be named, described the actions of Tinubu as not only disappointing, but provocative.
According to the Senator-elect, Akpabio remains an unpopular candidate due to his dented image and series of betrayals.
The Senator in waiting fingered Akpabio as having played a major role in the prison incarceration of Akwa Ibom North East Senator Bassey Albert and Delta North Senator, Peter Nwaoboshi having seen both of them as political rivals in the realisation of his Senate presidency ambition.
Accusing Tinubu of denying other contestants the privilege of an open contest which he enjoyed, another returning Senator from the North West region described Tinubu’s endorsement as dictatorship.
He noted that Tinubu would not have had a chance of becoming president if President Buhari and the party leadership had drafted a candidate into the contest. Describing the plan as undemocratic and affront to the sanctity of the Senate, the lawmaker revealed that such a move would not sail through.
A third-term Senator from North East disclosed that northern Senators were working across party lines to ensure a revenge against Tinubu for stoking the confusion that attended the inauguration of eighth Senate. The lawmaker explained that the activities of Tinubu in the lead up to the inauguration of the eighth National Assembly were being reviewed by influential political leaders from the zone, stressing that it has been discovered that the President-elect wanted to be the power behind the throne in 2015.
Dismissing Akpabio’s endorsement, a Senator-elect from the South South cited that in 2019 the party avoided the mistake of foisting a prefered candidate on the legislature but rather announced the zoning of the number three position to the North East which availed candidates from the region to test their popularity at the floor of the Senate in which the current Senate President , Ahmad Lawan later emerged after defeating Senate Ali Ndume.
“We won’t be cowed to the the bidding of the president elect. As a matter of fact we already have our own candidates who we are sure will work in the best interest of Nigerians , acrimony free Senate and also the the executive arm of Government. To say the least we are confident in the joint ticket of Senator Yari and Orji Kalu. Either of them are good to go for any of the two positions of Senate President and deputy Senate president,” the lawmaker in waiting said.