How ‘$200,000 Per Senator’ Threatens the Senate Presidency Race: Ndume Speaks Out
As the 10th National Assembly prepares to elect its principal officers on June 13, 2023, one of the contenders for the Senate presidency, Ali Ndume, has expressed his worries about the role of money in influencing the outcome of the election.
Ndume, who is the Senator representing Borno South and the Director-General of the Godswill Akpabio campaign organization, said that some of the aspirants were relying on money rather than merit, experience, and vision to woo other senators-elect to vote for them.
He made this remark during an interview with Arise TV on Tuesday, where he also cleared Akpabio of any involvement in money politics.
Akpabio is a former governor of Akwa Ibom State and a former Minister for Niger Delta Affairs. He resigned from his ministerial position on May 11, 2022, following the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to contest in the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Ndume said that Akpabio was the preferred candidate of the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is also the leader of the APC. He added that Akpabio’s candidacy was based on convincing his colleagues that the Senate presidency should go to the South-South region for the sake of equity and fairness.
He lamented that some of the other candidates were offering huge sums of money to senators-elect to secure their votes. He said that some were talking about figures ranging from 10 to 40 million naira and even more. He said that some were even boasting that they would give every senator up to $200,000.
Ndume described this as an unfortunate development that undermined the integrity and dignity of the legislative body. He said that money should not be the major determinant of who becomes the Senate president, but rather capacity, capability and most importantly, equity and fairness.
Newsflash Nigeria reports that the battle for the number three citizen position appears to be between Akpabio from the South-South, Orji Uzor Kalu from the South East and Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari from the North West region — all members of the ruling APC.
While Tinubu and APC’s National Working Committee were reported to have endorsed Akpabio’s candidacy, Kalu and Yari have insisted on pursuing their separate ambitions for the seat.