As the 10th National Assembly prepares to inaugurate and elect its presiding officers on Tuesday, there is anxiety in the camp of Senator Godswill Akpabio, the preferred candidate of President Bola Tinubu for the post of the Senate President.
A reliable source said that some of the senators-elect who have pledged their support for Akpabio are also collecting money and signing up for his main rival, Senator Abdul Aziz Yari, the former governor of Zamfara State.
The source, a member of the Stability Group, the platform campaigning for the Akpabio-Barau Jibrin ticket, confided in Saturday Tribune that some of the senators-elect who signed the list of Akpabio’s supporters have also attended secret meetings of Yari’s camp.
The source said: “I don’t know what is happening on the other side but I am aware that some people who claim to be with us have also signed for Yari. I am saddened that senators are selling signatures for between $5,000 and $10,000. They are not asking Yari what he has to offer; they are only interested in his money,” the lawmaker lamented.
The source said that the Stability Group would still continue to reach out to many senators to secure their buy-in for the Akpabio-Jibrin ticket.
Meanwhile, Yari, who has vowed not to step down for Akpabio, the favoured choice of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has continued with his consultations.
It was gathered that Yari has secured the commitment of some opposition lawmakers in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP) and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
It was also learnt that despite the intervention of a former governor of Kano State and NNPP presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso, the senators-elect on his party’s platform are in league with Yari.
During the week, the senator-elect for Kano South Suleiman Kawu (NNPP), criticised the zoning template of the ruling APC and announcement of favoured candidates.
Kawu told newsmen that he and his colleagues were determined to resist what he called the plot to impose Akpabio on the legislature.
Akpabio is a former governor of Akwa Ibom State and a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs. He is also a former Minority Leader of the 8th Senate. He is currently the senator-elect for Akwa Ibom North-West under the platform of APC.
Yari is a former governor of Zamfara State and a former Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum. He is also a former member of the House of Representatives. He is currently the senator-elect for Zamfara West under the platform of APC. He has declared his interest to contest for the Senate Presidency against the party’s zoning arrangement.