Nigeria’s Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, has dismissed an alleged plot to unseat him, saying that the Senate under his leadership is stable, harmonious, and working towards a greater and better Nigeria.
The Senate has also described as a ruse, the rumour of impending moves to remove Akpabio from office.
But Senator representing Adamawa North Senatorial District, Elisha Abbo, however, accused senators loyal to Akpabio, of being behind the reports on the alleged plot to remove him.
He accused Akpabio of running a one-man show, alleging also that the distribution of standing committees in the Senate was lopsided.
In a statement issued Saturday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Hon Eseme Eyiboh, the President of the Senate, who was reacting to reports about an alleged plot to destabilise the Senate and its leadership, said that the reports were complete imaginations and laced with malice to achieve what senators were yet to comprehend.
The statement noted that “the Senate has since gone past the experience of the keenly contested leadership election,” adding that “the plot to drag in Senators who initially did not support the emergence of the present leadership into a conspiracy that does not exist was uncharitable to the senators and needless umbrage.
“Senators are presently concluding their holidays in their constituencies and other places they have chosen to spend their time after the rigours of the inauguration and ministerial screening and other constructive engagements,” the statement said.
“All senators are also refreshing themselves ahead of the resumption; therefore, any suggestion that they are presently engaged in other subversive plots against the institution is rather uncharitable. It is mostly uncharitable for those senators who initially did not support the emergence of the leadership but who have all unanimously endorsed the Senator Akpabio-led leadership. Continuing to link these senators with needless conspiracy with barely disguised innuendo is rather unkind.
“We call on the media not to give in to the conspiratorial tales, and not to damage the reputations that they have built over time.”
We Have No Plan to Remove Our President, Senate Clarifies
The Senate has also described it as a ruse, the rumour of impending moves against Akpabio.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Yemi Adaramodu, said the alleged plot existed only in the imagination of the authors of the story.
The Senate statement read: “The Nigerian Senate is one united and fraternal family. This imaginative composition is in the realm of the fake and fallacious story of 100 million per legislator. It’s apt to note that the 10th Senate, under the leadership of Senator Godswill Akpabio has carried out its legislative and constitutional duties diligently.
“Within less than 60 legislative days, the Senate has passed life-enhancing bills and motions. It has screened and confirmed Service Chiefs and ministers, among others, apart from very essential oversight functions.
“We urge the fifth columnists, who operate undoubtedly outside the Senate, desperate to cause disharmony through media stunts and thus clipping the wings of Nigeria’s democracy, to take caution.
“The Senate should be allowed fresh air to settle down for its national assignments so that the Nigerian project can move forward. The media too, should be discerning not to be used as a hand tool to these retailers of fake and bad news,” the statement added.
Akpabio’s Loyalists Behind Removal Plot Allegation, Says Senator Abbo
In his reaction, the Senator representing Adamawa North, Abbo, has accused senators loyal to Akpabio of syndicating stories of an alleged plot against him in the media.
Abbo, in a statement made available to THISDAY in Abuja, alleged that the plan was to set President Bola Tinubu against the North.
“As a Northern senator and an official of the Northern Senators’ Forum, I make bold to say that the news was deliberately planted and syndicated by the ‘camp’ of Senator Akpabio just to set President Tinubu against the North.”
He called on Akpabio to call his camp to order, adding that “the seed of discord and deep ethno-religious division they are sowing will not augur well for the country.”
He said: “If Akpabio and his camp wanted a united Senate just like Ahmad Lawan, they could have known exactly what to do during Senate Standing Committees allocation and supplementary budget resources allocation.
“But the camp of the Senate President continued to treat the Senate as a conquered territory where the winner goes home with the spoils of war. A classic example of a winner-take-all-all.
“How do you explain a situation where out of Category A Committees only two went to his perceived rivals?
“How will you explain a Senate where 83.1 per cent of those made chairmen of Category A Committees are also vice chairmen of Category A?
“How do you explain a third-time senator denied the chairmanship of a committee? How do you explain leaders of the Senate are all vice chairmen of Category A Committees?
“You cannot treat us like conquered people and come back to blackmail us with planted and paid newspaper reports setting us against the President,” Abbo added.
Abbo also alleged that the rejection of the nomination of former Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, and two others as ministers was the exclusive decision of Akpabio and his team and not that of the entire Senate.
“During the ministerial screening where three minister-designates were refused clearance by the senate, which committee looked into the petitions against them? Ethics and Privileges or Ad hoc Committee or Committee of the Whole?
“Was the report deliberated and debated during plenary? Was there any voting either, Ayes or Nays?
“The Senate President just absconded during Plenary and kept the Senate waiting in the Chamber for over three hours while he was in the Villa – something that never happened in the history of the Senate then came.
“He read out names of those cleared and waved papers in his hand, claiming security report from the National Security Adviser or the Department of State Services as the reason for not clearing some ministers.
“In my opinion, this is the lowest the Senate ever descended.
“Who gave NSA or DSS DG or IG the power to write to the Senate? What do you call that communication? Executive communication or reckless communication?” Abbo queried.
Niger Delta Group Vows to Resist Plot against Akpabio
Meanwhile, a group in the Niger Delta has vowed to resist any attempt to remove Akpabio from office.
The leaders, in a statement signed by the Secretary, of Citizens Network for Peace and Development (CNPDN), Francis Wainwei, explained that no serious Nigerian should take the alleged threat seriously.
They said in the last 10 years, no Senate President had spread the chairmanship of standing committees like Akpabio.
The South-south leaders explained that the opposition members, as well as senators elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) got influential committees.
The pro-South-south group leaders said the senators pushing the narrative have a bigger plan to destabilise the administration of President Bola Tinubu, by causing unnecessary tension in the National Assembly.
The statement challenged the purveyors of the purported moves to show their faces and be ready to accept the dire consequences.
“We know the antecedents of these people and we know that they’re targeting President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Once they weaken the National Assembly, they’ll go after President Tinubu. We won’t allow them.
“If you couldn’t win elections through the ballots, you can’t also take over power through the backdoor. Akpabio will remain the President of the 10th Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly,” the group said.
Sunday Aborisade in Abuja