ABUJA – Ahead of the June date for inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, elected Senators on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) continued last night with their horse trading.
At the meeting held at the Ebonyi State Governors Lodge in Abuja, the host, Dave Umahi stepped down for Senator Godswill Akpabio in the race for the office of Senate President.
He made the disclosure at the end of the closed-door meeting.
Two other contenders for the ticket were also at the enlarged meeting: Senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume and his counterpart, representing Kano North, Barau Jibrin also announced that Senator Akpabio who won last February National Assembly election to represent Akwa- Ibom North West is their consensus candidate.
Governor Umahi said he was stepping down from the race in deference to President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu who called him and announced the former Akwa Ibom State governor as his anointed choice.
He said:” By yesterday, (Thursday) I met the president-elect on his invitation. He said he is already committed and said,” please, hold on”. And I have accepted and I stepped down for Akpabio.”
Asked if Akpabio is the consensus candidate of the APC Senators, the Ebonyi State Governor said, ‘he is my consensus candidate. ”
Governor Umahi also confirmed what is in the public domain that the deal has thrown up another leading contender, Senator Barau Jibrin, for the position of Deputy Senate President.
Ali Ndume, who confirmed that he would no longer be contesting, also said he would be leading Akpabio’s campaign for Senate Presidency on the instruction of the President elect.
He said: ”I am not only stepping down, I will be leading the campaign for Akpabio, because he is the President’s preferred candidate and we have to surrender to the interest of the party. That’s above any other interest. Asiwaju has said I should lead this campaign. So, you can see how popular Akpabio is.
“We are running a combined ticket— Akpabio-Barau ticket.”
Responding, Senator Akpabio thanked his colleagues for backing his aspiration for the exalted seat.
“I give all glory to Almighty God, and I have always said that, Insha Allah, (God willing) the will of God will be done in Nigeria.
Sunday Tribune checks revealed that another meeting of newly elected senators also held at the high brow Fraser Suite in Abuja. (Nigerian Tribune)