Aggrieved senators in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are planning for an upset if their president, Godswill Akpabio, fails to pacify them.
It was learnt that the aggrieved senators in the APC are recruiting opposition lawmakers mostly from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to work towards removing Akpabio as the Senate president.
It was gathered that the lawmakers are planning to ensure that Sen Abdulazeez Yari, who was defeated by Akpabio, bounces back because they believe that Yari will serve the interest of all.
But sources have described this move as a tall dream adding that it is difficult to get the numbers to remove Akpabio.
The lawmakers in Akpabio’s camp said that once principal offices and committees are shared, the agitation will die down.
“The aggrieved lawmakers have a lot of work to do. To produce another president of the Senate, these aggrieved lawmakers will have to first remove Akpabio with at least 73 Senators (the two-thirds of 109). That is only possible if Akpabio did not give the North the office of the Senate leader,” a Senator said.
Another senator said, “There is no senator that is trying to leave the APC. The Senate has just been inaugurated and every senator wants to be carried along, especially those from the opposition. There is no APC senator that will want to defect now because there is great implication. But the lawmakers can still be in the APC and work against Akpabio.
“Some people are just planting stories that 22 Senators from the APC want to join the PDP. No senator will take that risk because before you remove the president of the Senate, you must have 73 senators. So, people raising that kind of alarm are just flying a kite.
“We don’t see that happening but if they sideline people who worked for Akpabio’s emergence, more than that number will join the opposition camp, not another political party, to get a new leadership.
“About 24 senators keyed into the Akpabio project because some influential lawmakers in the North were leading the campaign. If Akpabio did not ensure balancing in the Senate leadership especially the principal officers, these 24 lawmakers will now align with the 22 aggrieved APC senators. With about 46 senators in Yari’s campaign, Akpabio will not last in that seat because the Northern senators want the position of the Senate leader.
“We learned that Senator Opeyemi Bamidele is being positioned for the office of the Senate leader. If that is done, the Northern senators will not be happy with Akpabio and that will be the beginning of his problem.
“So, Akpabio must ensure that the Northern senators are pacified with the principal offices. So, the ball is in Akpabio’s court,” a senator from the North Central said.
Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers have raised an alarm over plans to destabilise the minority parties in the Senate.
According to the opposition lawmakers, there are plans to ensure that all the principal officers are loyal to the ruling party.
In a statement jointly signed by the leaders of the opposition lawmakers, they insisted on an independent Senate, and not one that is an appendix of the executive.
“It has come to the notice of the minority political parties in the Senate of an attempt by forces inside and outside the Senate to divide the minority parties and foist a pliant and compromised leadership on them.
“We have pledged to work constructively with the new Senate leadership and the Executive branch to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people. We consequently hereby advise and caution that they should not aid any group inside or outside the Senate to divide and destabilise the minority parties and the Senate institution.
“Senators of the minority parties would meet when the Senate reconvenes and, in consultation with our respective political parties, would select its leaders without undue interference from anti-democratic forces within or outside the Senate.”
They added that no senator had yet been endorsed or selected for any minority leadership position.
“Attempts to foist a one-party dictatorship would be resisted and would fail. We call on all members of the minority political parties to work together in unity to defend the democratic institution of the Senate and Nigeria,” the statement added.