By Michael Agbaji
Following his selection as the choice of President Elect, Asiwaju Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to preside the 10th Senate,Former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs,Godswill Akpabio has expressed his confidence that the Senators elect were left with no other alternative than to comply with the directive of the party Leadership and that of President-Elect,Bola Tinubu.
Akpabio asserted his conviction that ratification of his selection and others by the Party on Monday was binding on all Senators-elect across Political divides as a result of the supremacy creed of the ruling APC.
For fear of incurring the Party’s punitive measures expected to be leveled on erring members, the South – South Senator elect boasted that APC Lawmakers elect would have no choice than to comply by voting for himself ; Kano North Senator, Barau Jibrin; Tajudeen Abass and Benjamin Kalu for the offices of President and Deputy , Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively as directed by the Party.
As for the opposition Lawmakers elect including those of his party, the former Senate Minority Leader was upbeat about getting their votes, which he said will be as result of the fear of disobeying Tinubu who would have been sworn already as President as at the June 13th when the National Assembly leadership elections would be conducted
A competent source who was present at a meeting held at the former Minister’s Transcorp Hilton Hotel campaign suite located at the 7th floor, disclosed that Akpabio while reacting to the torrents of rejection of his nomination “waved off” the opposition as he urged his loyalists not to lose sleep over the stiff resistance of Senators elect.
The source, a prominent re elected Senator from the Southwest geopolitical zone said that Akpabio’s statement at the meeting runs contrary the comment made by the Party’s National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka who stated on Tuesday on Channels TV programme Politics Today that the nomination of Akpabio and Abbas was not obligatory.
Speaking to our reporter at the sidelines of the ongoing induction programme for the incoming National Assembly members being held at the same venue,Senator revealed that Akpabio charged his loyalists present at the gathering to go about their normal duties as the Senators would act in accordance with the directive of the Party in due course.
The Senator while responding to questions raised during the meeting claimed that the aggrieved Senators were merely seeking for compensation having lost out of the yet to be conducted Parliamentary leadership elections.
Revealing details of the meeting the Senator said;
“Akpabio is confident of becoming the next Senate President, though some of us have expressed concerns about the rejections and protests , but he has told us not to worry.
“Those Tinubu asked to lead his campaign in persons of Senator Ndume and Governor Umahi have not been welcomed by some aggrieved APC Senators elect, except from some from the Southwest and expectedly the Southwest.
“Our major problem now is how to convince Senators from the North and Southeast to key into our agenda. To be honest selling Akpabio hasn’t been easy but we thank our dear President elect, party for their endorsement except that it would have been very difficult for us. Apart from that Akpabio has assured us all that the Senators have no choice than to vote for him based on the orders of Tinubu and the Party, we hope that it comes to pass.
Despite his nomination by the ruling party, opposition has continued to mount over the choice of Akpabio and other candidates enlisted by the Party in their zoning arrangement.
With records of betrayals, humongous corruption cases and his maladministration in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Akpabio appeared not in the good books of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, caucus in the National Assembly, including both the outgoing 9th Assembly and the incoming 10th Assembly. As a result, entreaties from the former governor of Akwa Ibom to sell his candidacy is not yielding the expected result.
Additionally, Senators-elect across the North-Central , South-East , North West and North East geopolitical zones from different political parties, have rejected outrightly the zoning formula for the 10th National Assembly leadership positions announced by the All Progressives Congress (APC).