The fate of the embattled former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, as Senate president appears to be hanging in the balance given the current permutations, New Telegraph exclusively learnt last night. The development, according to New Telegraph checks, may, however, be unconnected with the fact that President Bola Tinubu may have finally broken the speakership impasse, which had trailed the recent announcement of the ruling party’s ‘anointed candidates’ for the Presiding Officers for both the Upper and Lower Chambers of the National Assembly.
Recall that the All Progressives Congress (APC) had announced the endorsement of Akpabio and three others for the topmost positions in the National Assembly.
The endorsement showed that Akpabio from South South was tipped for Senate President, Senator Jubrin Barau (North West) for Deputy Senate President, Tajudeen Abbas, (North West) for Speaker, House of Representatives and Benjamin Kanu (South East) for Deputy Speaker.
The announcement, however, was followed by protests, condemnations and strong criticisms by party faithful across the country. While many queried the reasonability of the party allotting two of the six presiding offices in the National Assembly to a zone and leaving the North Central without any position, many others criticised the zoning of the Deputy Speaker to the South-East instead of presidency of the Senate generally believed to be due to the zone.
Speaking on the dust so far raised, a competent source, who craved anonymity, confided in New Telegraph last night that the Akpabio issue appears more critical than other positions, given its strategic role in the wheels of governance. According to the source, President Tinubu is already looking in the direction of the G-6 group in terms of appeasing them alongside others demands.
The source said: “As at Monday night, the President was still sending emissaries to notable aspirants among the G-6 but it appears that they were still very angry with the way they were treated by those who presented the proposal to the president before his inauguration.
“I think the president saw reasons in their complaints, but here is a situation where the potential chief of then, had made a choice on his behalf, so he could not disgrace the man who was acting on his behalf even if there were some errors prior to the disclosure of the names. “Quite honestly, the President is greatly disturbed that the impasse had to drag on for too long. “And in all this, the issue of the senate presidency is paramount because that is the most important position. To be honest with you, Akpabio still has a lot of issues around the bid to be Senate president.”
To underscore this fact, the President was said to have sent out emissaries to sample the ‘permutation pulse’ of the G-6 group, with a view to finding a solution to the lingering crisis.
The source added: “The President sent independent hands to secretly find out the strength and weaknesses of each of the aspirants, including the G-6 and the Yari group. “It will shock you that the outcome is negative because if we don’t break the G-6 by appeasement, we will not go anywhere; there is also the (Abdulaziz) Yari and (Chief Orji Uzor) Kalu alliance.” On how the speakership impasse needs to be resolved, the source hinted that President Tinubu may have concluded to pitch his tent with the North West, where a dark horse in the person of Sani Jaji, might be favoured.
The source again said: “For the G-6, I think we have made tremendous progress because the president has conceded to drop the choice put forward by the outgoing Speaker, I mean Abbas, but he still insisted that the North West must produce the Speaker.
“So, he has personally proposed that on Thursday, he would return to his original plan of Sani Jaji because that was his choice initially and originally before the surprise recommendation came from Gbajabiamila. “His argument is that Jaji is well known to him, he belongs to the G-6 and since they have resolved to support one of them, he prefers him and that may be announced on Thursday evening.”
For the embattled Deputy Speaker, Wase, and the tipped ‘anointed Speaker’, Abbas, the source said: “And by way of having an inclusive arrangement, Abbas and Wase are likely to be offered ministerial appointments to represent their states.”