Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, no fewer than 25 State Governors have adopted Senator Godswill Obong Akpabio, and Senator Jibrin Barau, as the Senate President and Deputy Senate President of the 10th Assembly respectively.
The governors are also mobilising Senators-elect across the three major parties: the All Progressives Congress (APC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) to back the adopted candidates.
Among others, the 25 pro-Akpabio Governors include the Governors of Kwara, Nasarawa, Benue, Ogun, Oyo, Lagos, Ekiti, Osun, Kogi, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Kaduna, Borno, Ebonyi and Ondo States. The governors, majority of whom are of the APC-controlled States, maintained that they were vehemently upholding the unanimous decision of the ruling party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
The Governors added that the APC NWC has made the most profound decision that will promote institutional stability and the peaceful conduct of legislative proceedings in the 10th National Assembly in the next four years.
Specifically, when Akpabio visited Governor Yahaya Bello in Kogi State, the governor described the aspirations of Akpabio and Barau for the positions of the Senate President and Deputy President of the 10th Senate respectively as his personal project.
He also stated that Akpabio, a former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, was his role model, adding that the Senator’s uncommon style of governance as Governor of Akwa Ibom State, endeared him to want to be like the former governor. The Kogi governor said he will work to achieve the stability of the President Bola Tinubu Presidency.
Also, the Ekiti State governor, Biodun Oyebanji, said Senators-elect and other stakeholders in the state were behind the candidacy of Senator Akpabio to succeed Ahmad Lawan as the next Senate President. He said, “in Ekiti State, we are committed to a united National Assembly and we are also committed to the decision of the National Working Committee of the APC with respect to the zoning and you can attest to the fact that all the senators are here with me just to have dinner with Akpabio.
“We are supporting his aspiration as directed by the national body of the party. We are in this together, we are not only supporting, we will identify with him publicly and that is what I have done. “All Ekiti senators and the leaders, all the former governors – we are in the same boat. We respect the sanctity of the party and we appeal to all contenders to also follow the advice of the National Working Committee.”
The governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullaahi Sule, had also said that APC governors from the North have resolved to support President Bola Tinubu’s choice of National Assembly presiding officers. Sule told the aspirants: “We cannot in any way fight the choice of Bola Ahmed Tinubu. We cannot in any way fight the choice of our party.”
Governor Babajide Sanwo in Lagos State said he hoped the 10th Assembly would be about “Shaping new course, breaking records” to surpass and improve on the antecedents of the 9th Assembly. He described the group of Senators-elect across party divides as “a well thought out group.”
Also, a source close to APC Governors pointed out that they were looking forward to a most peaceful, stable, result-oriented and highly productive Senate in the 10th Assembly. He stressed that based on the demands of governance in Nigeria at the moment, both the Executive and the Legislature must have a cordial and stimulating working relationship.
The source maintained that rapid development and economic stability were only foreseeable in an atmosphere of shared vision and cordiality between the Tinubu administration and the leadership of the 10th National Assembly and other critical stakeholders of the political process.
The source said they detest the despicable situation that reared its ugly head between 2015 and 2019 where the Saraki-led Senate was constantly at loggerhead with the Buhari-led Federal Executive Council. He added that the messy imbroglio contributed to the situation where salient policy proposals which emanated from the executive were either delayed or thrown overboard on the platter of sheer politics of acrimony, bitterness and high handedness.