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Senate Presidency: Tinubu, Buhari loyalists in last minute battle



A fresh battle is brewing between the  outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari and the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu over the alleged choice of Senator Godswill Akpabio as the consensus candidate for the senate presidency of the 10th National Assembly, and this is authoritative.

Core loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari saw the selection of Godswill Akpabio as a disavowal of the Buhari’s government‘s spirited fight against corruption, a poor image projection for the country and an unacceptable choice by Nigerians; a legacy the loyalists have resolved never to accept for President Buhari, not minding the power of forces behind it.

All through the weekend, the core loyalists made up of close associates of President Muhammadu Buhari were in strategic meetings fine-tuning ways of using both the political means and government institutions to legitimately stop the ‘insensitive’ move allegedly being spearheaded by the President-elect.

According to a highly-placed loyalist of President Muhammadu Buhari and also working in the Aso Rock Presidential Villa who spoke to a select group of journalists in Abuja Sunday on conditions of anonymity, the choice of Senator Godswill Akpabio did not go down well with most of the core loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari and that they have consequently informed the sitting president on the implications of it.

The source disclosed that the loyalists were totally against the choice of the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State explaining that it is antithetical to the fight against corruption and an assault to all the results achieved on the fight against the menace in the past 8 years of Buhari’s administration.

Gauging from the media and government’s communications’ machinery, the source said, the loyalists have equally established that overwhelming numbers of Nigerians were not happy with the proposed choice for the leadership of the National Assembly, the only institution that distinguishes democracy from military government.

Although the source agreed that Nigeria and indeed the entire world would know that the outgoing President had no hand in the choice of a person with corruption charges hanging on his neck assuming the headship of the legislative arm of the country, Muhammadu Buhari as the sitting President would not fold his arms watching such a politician promoted to the position of Chairman of the National Assembly.

“We, as loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari, are quite proud of his achievements as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He has served Nigeria well and we want the world to remember him for the great things he has done for the country particularly as a clean and incorruptible Nigerian and a global corruption-free personality.”

Senator Godswill Akpabio is at present facing corruption charges and has been invited to meet officials of the anti-graft commission, EFCC by Tuesday, May 9, 2023 over cases of money laundering and theft running to billions of Naira.

Among other allegations, Godswill Akpabio has been alleged of perpetrating a N40billion Naira fraud when he headed the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC.

In 2020, the Senate and the House of Representatives resolved to probe the alleged N40 billion financial recklessness of the Interim Management Committees of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Also, there were allegations of over N86 billion contract scams involving the senator–elect and a former acting Managing Director of NDDC, Prof Kemebbradikumo Pondei which the Economic and Financial Crime Commission  (EFCC) has been investigating.

The EFCC had in the past arrested Godswill Akpabio over the alleged theft of N108billion  of Akwa Ibom funds.

The EFCC had earlier invited Akpabio to appear for questioning on March 29, but his lawyer, Umeh Kalu, SAN, in a letter to the anti-graft agency claimed that his client was suffering from pneumonia and cardiac arrhythmia.

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