Akpabio Drops Senate Presidency Bid, To Get Ministerial Appointment |
As the race for the leadership of the incoming 10th National Assembly in both the Senate and the House of Representatives gathers momentum, strong indication has emerged Senator Godswill Akpabio may have dropped his ambition to run for Senate President.
According to the Vanguard, in the alternative, Akpabio has decided to pursue a ministerial appointment in the cabinet of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
It will be recalled that Akpabio, a former Minority Leader of the Senate and immediate past minister of Niger Delta Affairs in the government of President Muhammadu Buhari resigned his portfolio following the provision of section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act of 2022 to contest the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
But at the convention ground, Akpabio stepped down for Tinubu who later won the party’s ticket and also went ahead to win the keenly contested February 25, 2023, presidential election.
Vanguard gathered from reliable sources within the party hierarchy and the National Assembly on Sunday that Akpabio’s decision to drop his Senate presidential ambition was informed by the decision of the party to zone the slot to the South East.
One of the sources who pleaded anonymity said that barring any last-minute eventuality, the party leadership will soon announce the zoning arrangements of all the presiding and principal offices both in the Senate and the House.
The source said that Akpabio who was also a former Akwa-Ibom State Governor has since escalated consultations to return to his ministerial position specifically the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs where he resigned from in May 2022 to contest for the APC Presidential primaries.
Another possible push is also in the Ministry of Petroleum where it was learned the government minister had a vested interest too.
It was learned that the Senate-elect has since informed his loyalists to tone down their campaign for his senate presidential ambition in the media to soften the ground to achieve his ministerial reappointment in Tinubu’s cabinet.
Tinubu will be sworn in as president on May 29, 2023, barely two months from now and he is mandated by a new law signed by President Buhari in the constitutional alterations to form his cabinet within 60 days of assumption of office.
While some have publicly declared their intention to vie for the office of the Senate President, others were yet to do so.
Some of the contenders for the President of the Senate included a former Governor of Abia State and current Chief Whip, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, Senators Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano North); Sani Musa (APC, Niger East), Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South).
Also speculated to be on the list against the ranking standing rule are the former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari (APC, Zamfara West); the outgoing Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi (APC, Ebonyi South), and a former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole (APC, Edo North).
The source said: “To avoid losing out Akpabio has since begun reaching out to Bola Tinubu personally and through his allies to return to any of the plum ministries which appears to be more favorable to the former two-time Governor when compared to the Senate President position.
“His chances are very dim and he knows this, our Party and the President-Elect are committed to forming a Government of National unity and quelling restiveness in geo-political zones in the country beginning with the Southeast by allowing them to produce the next Senate President”.
Source: Igbere tv