National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Tuesday, warned Senator Godswill Akpabio and lawmakers-elect, tipped to be principal officers of the 10th National Assembly, to avoid a repeat of the Bukola Saraki incident in 2015.
He said this when Akpabio led 40 of his colleagues to the party’s national secretariat.
The Senators-elect present at the meeting included Gbenga Daniel, Ibrahim Geidam, Ipalibo Banigo, Olamilekan Adeola and Opeyemi Bamidele.
Others are Jim Kuta, Kenneth Eze, Ethan Williams, Emmanuel Demdi, Dakat Plang, Bola Ashiru, Jide Ipinsagba, Wasiu Esinlokun, Howell Eyinsu, Karimi Sunday, Cyril Fasuyi, Isa Jubrin, Nasiru Sani, Kaka Shehu Lawan, Ndubusi Patrick and Ibrahim Mohammed.
Addressing the senators-elect, Adamu said he was happy that consultations were still ongoing and expressed optimism that APC will have its way.
His words: “From what you just said, there is ample evidence that there have been consultations and we will not relent in ensuring that if it were possible, for all senators-elect to agree. Whatever we do, whatsoever signatures we collect, the final decision will be on the floor of the Senate and also the House.
“All these efforts are very good and important but we are in a democracy and people are bound to have opinions and we have no right to stop them.
“I am happy that we are heeding the advice and directives we gave to make consultations and it is good that it is going on and I am happy that it has been very fruitful. We wait till the 3rd of June on the floor of the House. I want us to have a rancour-free election on the floor. Because even if everybody says it is Akpabio or Y or X, the rules of the game say there must be an election.
Those who are in the Senate are aware of the rules. On the day of the proclamation by the President and the Clerk makes the proclamation, I do hope and pray that we will carry the day and be victorious.
“But let me warn, don’t be late. I hope I am communicating. Don’t be late. Once beaten, twice shy.”
Earlier, Akpabio said he was at the party secretariat to show solidarity and appreciation for his endorsement “after wide consultations with stakeholders in Nigeria.”
He said: “Yes indeed, the elections are over and governance is about to begin.
“The South-South part of the country last had a Senate President in 1979, about 44 years ago with Joe Wayas from NPN. And our brothers from the South East with very capable people have held the position since 1999 for about eight years and also produced the Deputy Senate President for twelve years till the current dispensation. The North Central produced David Mark for 12 years, and Bukola Saraki and Mantu.
“Since the President-elect is from the South and the vice from the North, it is right that the Senate President is coming from the South. Of course, the South West is out, left with the South-South hoping that their brothers from the East will support them.
“The wise men from the National Working Committee graciously zoned it to the South-South and a party man who served six years in the executive, eight years as governor, served as the minority leader of the Senate and minister to lead the 10th Senate.”
Akpabio’s campaign Director-General, Senator-elect Ali Ndume asked Adamu to rein in aggrieved contestants, and get them to respect the supremacy of the party.
Ndume said: “I want to appeal through you that you talk to some members of APC who have still not supported the party’s decision. When I was young I was told about three ‘Gs’ to fear. One is God, then the gun and the government. Both the Bible and the Quran ask us to respect leadership because that is the only way to progress. We urge you to talk to them because that is the only way to have progress.”
But a source, present at the meeting, told our correspondent that the governors did not envisage that the resolution of the meeting would leak to the media adding that “he (AbdulRazaq) thought the thing would not leak. Even his release did not state he was not there.”
Recall that the North-Central Governors’ Forum, on Monday, kicked against exclusion of the zone from the sharing of principal officers of the National Assembly.
Those present at the meeting include Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazak of Kwara State, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nassarawa State, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, the governor-elect of Benue State, Rev. Fr Hyacinth Alia; Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Idris Wase; Senator Mohammed Musa and Yusuf Gagdi.
But Governor AbdulRazaq, in a release by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, denied a media report quoting the North-Central governors as rejecting the position of the party leadership.
The governor said: “Media reports that we rejected the party’s position are therefore a stretch of our approach. They are not factual. We have our channels of communication, and that is what we are exploring.
“We are party people and will not make any public statement or do anything that will rubbish its leadership or cause avoidable tension in the polity. That is not our way.”
Despite opposition to his endorsement, the preferred speakership aspirant for the 10th House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, Tuesday, boasted of having about 107 members from the opposition parties to swell his camp and possible victory at the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly.
Abbas said this while on a campaign visit to Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State in his Abuja residence.
His campaign train which comprised his running mate, Benjamin Kalu and convener of the Joint Task, Usman Kumo were at Lalong’s place to seek his assistance.