Senate Presidency: Hope sims for Akpabio as over 70 Senators-elect back Yari

June 12, 2023
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Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly on June 13, 2023, there are strong indications that former Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’Aziz Yari, may emerge the next Senate president given the support he has received so far from the Senators-elect who will be the ultimate decider on the floor of the upper chamber.

Yari will slug it out with former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who is the preferred candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Speaking in a chat with our correspondent, a former Minister, who is also a key part in the leadership tussle of the 10th National Assembly, said over 70 Senators-elect out of the 109 members have pledged their support for Yari based on certain factors.

He listed the factors as religion, need for an independent legislature, role of outgoing Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and indifference of the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to Akpabio’s Senate presidency ambition.

According to him: “APC has 59 senators-elect, Peoples Democratic Party has 36.

“The Labour Party has eight.

“New Nigeria Peoples Party and  Social Democratic Party both have two members each, while the All Progressives Grand Alliance and Young Progressives Party both have one member each.

“From what is on ground, Yari is the man to beat.

“The number of votes required to win is 55.

“As we are speaking today, Yari has about 70 Senators-elect with him.

“Many of the Senators are backing Yari because of two main issues.

“First, those backing him are angry because the presidency and APC leadership are bringing up religion.

“If you didn’t play up religion in your time during the presidential election and you said religion is not an issue, then it won’t be an issue now.

“Two, many of the Senators-elect want a truly independent legislature, which they believe Akpabio cannot provide.

“They believe Yari has the experience and ability to hold the executive responsible if the need arises.

“For the House of Reps speakership, the APC succeeded in getting (Aliyu) Betara to step down because of the influence of the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who has been appointed as the Chief of Staff to the President.

“They were able to strike a deal with Betara, which he agreed to.

“However in the Senate, the incumbent Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, is backing Yari and he has mobilised many of the senators-elect for him.

“Also, you can’t underrate the North West having given you that kind of vote in the presidential election.

“In fact, the entire North West is unhappy with the President for not throwing his weight behind Yari.

“The truth is that Akpabio is not really the candidate the President wanted.

“Some people, because of their selfish interests, just went to sell his candidacy to him, saying because he (Akpabio) stepped down for him during the primaries.

“That is why the President didn’t really push on the issue of the Senate.

“Given the kind of political strategist he is and the powers he has now, if President Tinubu really wants Yari to step down, he knows what to do and those he can use to talk to him.”

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