Senator Ali Ndume has revealed that President Bola Tinubu informed him about his preferred candidate for the presidency of the 10th Nigerian Senate, who is Senator Godswill Akpabio. Ndume stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday night. He further mentioned that the President requested his support in leading Akpabio’s campaign. Ndume emphasized his belief that the President would not change his position regarding the leadership of the 10th Senate.
Various individuals and groups have urged Tinubu not to interfere in the leadership of the National Assembly or impose a favored candidate on the lawmakers. Additionally, Akpabio is currently under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for corruption-related allegations and has recently declined invitations from the anti-graft agency.
In May, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) designated four key positions for the 10th National Assembly and announced the elected lawmakers to fill each role. The zoning arrangement specifies that the Senate President position goes to the South-South, occupied by Senator Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), and the Deputy Senate President position goes to the North West, held by Senator Barau Jibrin (Kano). The Speaker of the House of Representatives position is allocated to the North-West, represented by Abass Tajudeen (Kaduna), while the Deputy Speaker position goes to the South-East, represented by Hon. Ben Kalu (Abia).
A lawmaker with two decades of experience in the National Assembly stated that, as of now, 75 out of the 109 elected Senators in the red chamber have expressed their support for Akpabio’s candidacy. Ndume acknowledged the formidable opposition from former Zamfara State governor Abdulaziz Yari, who is also a strong contender for the Senate President role, but he claimed that the Akpabio camp possessed several advantages.
Ndume asserted, “As of today, I am telling you we have 75 senators. All advantages are on our side. We have the support of the party, we have the support of the president, and most importantly, we have the support of most of the senators. These senators have endorsed our program.”
While maintaining confidence in the Akpabio camp’s prospects in the election, the Borno lawmaker acknowledged the possibility of surprises, as people can change their minds at the last minute. Ndume concluded by saying, “Let’s say that some people will jump over at the last minute, that can happen, but I am very confident. I don’t want to be overconfident because people can change their mind, but we have a better candidate. We have two candidates leading the race now, Yari and Akpabio, and our candidate has all the political and intellectual advantages over the other candidate. We have an added advantage.”