By Tope Omogbolagun
The lawmaker representing Adamawa North Senatorial District, Senator Ishaku Abbo, has asserted that the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, along with his associates, were the ones who disseminated the story about his rumored intention to impeach him.
Abbo further added that the narrative was purportedly orchestrated by the Senate President to create discord between President Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and northern politicians.
The PUNCH reports that Akpabio has strongly denied allegations of an impending impeachment against him. He labelled these reports as both malicious and untrue.
There were media reports on Saturday stating that plans were underway to unseat Akpabio as the president of the 10th Senate when the Senate reconvenes on September 26, 2023.
The report also noted that two prominent senators from the North West and other senators across the national assembly are already meeting and mapping out plans to carry out the daring move.
The reports also alleged that the senators believed that the Senate President was a rubber stamp for the presidency and may be unable to carry out his duty effectively.
He stated, “I woke up today to find over 10 mainstream Nigerian newspapers all carrying news of a plan to impeach Senator Akpabio by senators from Northern Nigeria. The Whistler Newspaper even went on to name Senator Abdulaziz Yari, Senator Aminu Tambuwal, and Senator Ogoshi Onawo, among others, as the senators behind the move.”
Abbo added, “As a Northern senator and an official of the Northern Senators Forum, I boldly affirm that this news is intentionally disseminated and propagated by the ‘camp’ of Senator Akpabio solely to pit President Bola Tinubu against the North. I call on Senator Akpabio to rein in his camp, as the seeds of discord and deep ethno-religious division they are sowing will not bode well for the country. Why the North? Why in Saudi Arabia?”
He remarked, “If Akpabio and his camp wanted a united Senate, much like Ahmed Lawan, they would have known exactly what to do during Senate Standing Committees allocation and supplementary budget resources allocation. But the camp of the SP continued to treat the senate as a conquered territory where the winner walks away with the spoils of war. A classic case of the winner takes all.”
Expressing his frustration, the Adamawa lawmaker said, “How do you justify a situation where out of Category A Committees, only two were granted to his perceived rivals? How will you explain a senate where 83.1% of those appointed Chairmen of Category A Committees also serve as Vice Chairmen of Category A?
“How do you explain a third-term Senator being denied the Chairmanship of a Committee? How do you justify the leadership of the Senate, all being Vice Chairmen of Category A Committees? You cannot treat us as conquered people and then return to manipulate us with planted and paid newspaper reports to set us against the President.”
Abbo also claimed that the 10th Senate was the most condescending parliament. He further referred to the screening of ministerial nominees, where the Senate President sought clearance for certain nominees at the Villa. He added that the Senate was not given the opportunity to decide on the fate of rejected nominees.
Before embarking on its annual recess, the Senate screened 48 ministerial nominees sent by the president, with 45 receiving approval and three being rejected. Among the rejected three was former Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
Reflecting on the screening, Abbo queried, “Let me pose this question: During the ministerial screening, when three ministerial nominees were denied clearance by the senate, which committee examined the petitions against them? Was it Ethics and Privileges, an ad-hoc committee, or the committee of the whole? Was the report deliberated and debated during plenary? Was there any voting, either AYE or NAY?
“The Senate President simply absented himself during plenary, leaving the Senate waiting in the Chamber for over three hours while he was at the Villa. This is something that has never occurred in the history of the Senate. Then he returned and read out the names of those cleared and ‘waved’ papers in his hand, citing security reports from NSA or DSS as the reason for not clearing some ministers.”
Abbo added, “In my opinion, this is the lowest the Senate has ever descended. Who granted NSA, DSS DG, or IGP the authority to correspond with the Senate? What kind of communication is that? Executive communication or reckless communication?
“Are we telling Nigerians that the Presidency and the Security agencies did not conduct due diligence before sending the list to the Senate, or is the Senate being used as a pawn in the power play of Presidential aides?”
He went on to assert that Akpabio knows what it takes to maintain a peaceful Senate, akin to Ahmed Lawan, and “not blackmailing Senators from Northern region and using newspaper report to hoodwink the President.
“President Bola Tinubu worked hard to make Senator Akpabio the Senate President, but it is only Senator Akpabio who can effectively manage his colleagues, not Tinubu managing them on his behalf.”