Impeachment Fever: Akpabio amends Senate rules, Blocks Oshiomole, Yari from Senate Presidency
Perturbed by fears of his impeachment The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio may have put a final end to the chances of Senator Adams Oshiomole and Abdulaziz Yari from vying for the Senate Presidency.
The Senate resumed plenary on Wednesday, 3rd October, 2023 at 11: 14 a.m. after Eid Malud and the 63rd Independence holidays. The Senate President,Godswill Akpabio had arrived at the Senate Chambers accompanied by his deputy, Barau Jibrin.
Moments after Akpabio concluded the exchange of pleasantries with his colleagues he called for the adoption of votes and proceedings of the last legislative day.
Immediately afterwards, the Senate moved into a closed-door session following a motion by the Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele and was seconded by Simon Mwadkwon the minority leader.
Upon its return at about 2:10PM a motion was moved by the Senate Leader to step down order businesses of the day to pave the way for amendment of senate standing Orders which was subsequently adopted.
The sole purpose of the motion for the Senate to amend its standing orders was to strip off first-term Senators from the right of vying for the positions of Senate President and Deputy Senate President.
The amendment of Rule 3(2) (1-3) of the Senate Standing Orders follows a motion moved by the Senate Leader Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.
With the new amendment to the standing orders of the Senate, first-term senators are now excluded from those qualified or eligible to contest for the position of presiding officers of the upper chamber.
Rule 3 of the Senate Standing Orders as amended now stipulates that any senator harbouring any intent to vie for the position of the Senate President and Deputy Senate President must have spent a minimum of one term in the Senate.
This action by the Senate is not unconnected in response to the leadership tussle before the swearing-in of lawmakers in the 10th Senate a few months ago when Senator Abdulaziz Yari, a first-term Senator contested against Senator Godswill Akpabio for the position of Senate President.
Speaking on the sidelines to a reporter at the Senate, who sought to know the pulse of some aggrieved senators got some revealing information that clearly shows that 2/3 of the Senators were displeased with the kangaroo amendment which has sinister motives behind it.
Responding to our correspondent, a senator from North Central who pleaded anonymity, told us off camera described Senator Akpabio as a hypocrite who has sold the integrity of the 10th Assembly to the Presidency (Executive).
He insisted that what is good for the Gander is also good for the Goose, explaining that, if the positions of the Senate President and Deputy Senate President are not meant for the First time senators, in the same vein such similar amendments should have been extended to all other Principal Officers’ positions stating the positions should also be exclusively kept for senators who have stayed in the Senate for more than one term.
The Lawmaker who spoke confidently, berated Akpabio labeling him as “corrupt” and unfit to lead members of the Hallowed Red Chamber.
The Senator carpeted Akpabio; At this point this country needs a pragmatic and dogged leader who can look into the eyes of the Executives and tell them the bitter truth and not be a “rubber stamp” legislative arm of government that can’t stand for the people who voted them into power and Akpabio is definitely not the person”.
A visibly riled Lawmaker from the Northwest dispraged the amended law describing it as the handiwork of Akpabio. The Senator who opened up to our correspondent on the assurance that his identity will be concealed said that the Senate President was jittery of impeachment saying that Akpabio is rattled by the information that he may be impeached in the next two weeks.
The Lawmaker insisted that Akpabio won’t escape impeachment;
“The Senators are tired of the Senate President’s style of leadership, which is not fair and transparent to all concerned. Whether Akpabio likes it or not, no Jupiter will stop him from being impeached as the Senate President by the fourth night.
The Senator revealed further that Akpabio had been reliably intimated that moves had been perfected for Senator Oshiomole who hails from Edo State (South South) has been positioned for his replacement.
The Senator maintained, Akpabio’s fear of being impeached compelled him to engineer the motion with the help of his yo man in person of the Senate Leader, Senator Bamidele, from Ekiti State(south-south) to make it impossible for a first time senator from to contest for Senate President or Deputy Senate President. However, the senator remained upbeat, insisting that their plans were dead on arrival.
Akpabio’s plans to further clip the wings of recalcitrant first Senators was also unveiled by Southeast Senator from Imo State. After much persuasion the Lawmaker spoke after obtaining assurance of concealing his identity and said that the embattled Senate President had conveyed a meeting where he met with new Senators who make up 70% of the 10th Senate. At the meeting the Imo Senator said that Akpabio allegedly promised 3 billion naira each of them for their Zonal Intervention Project if they agree to support his game plan of stopping one of them from becoming the Senate President or Deputy Senate President.
The Senator questioned the credibility of Akpabio’s promises, He asked;
“Where does Akpabio intend to get such an amount of billions? These are mere lies and deceit of the senators who are new to the Senate. All hands are on deck, behind the scenes to make sure he is disgraced from office”.
“Akpabio is an unrepentant hypocrite who wants to change the standing orders of the senate just because of his selfish reasons which don’t hold water. He affirmed”.
Backing Oshiomole, the Senator said that the die had been cast noting that nothing could stop the removal of Akpabio from office.
He said ; “Everything is set for the emergence of Oshiomole as the next President of the 10th Senate.”There is no way a half-baked law targeted at some individuals will be allowed to fly.
The angered Lawmaker said the new law should be wholesome and not one-sided or seen to stop some few vibrant senators from aspiring.
“If the new senators can’t be Senate President and Deputy Senate, in the same vein, new Senators shouldn’t occupy sensitive Principal Officers positions. It is an aberration that should be condemned in all ramifications, he said.
Recall that Akpabio since his emergence has struggled in the murky waters of impeachment. Akpabio’s travails began in August during the Ministerial screening, before the Senate proceeded for its annual recess where he boldly told the Senators on camera that the Clerk of the Senate had sent monies to the bank accounts of his colleagues to “enjoy” their holiday, apparently forgetting that the proceeding was being captured on live camera.
Startled after he was alerted by some of his colleagues that the plenary session was live on television, the Leader of Nigeria’s Highest Parliament withdrew it and cunningly said, the Clerk of the Senate has sent prayers to their email address.
Another sin of that flung the Senate President under the bus was how he belittled the Senators Minister of Aviation, Hon. Barr. Festus Keyamo. The screening of Festus threw the Senate into a rowdy session following a point of order raised by Darlington Nwokocha (LP, Abia), complaining that the nominee had in 2020 ignored the summons of the National Assembly over the implementation of the Special Public Works Programme of the federal government. The motion was seconded by Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA, Abia Central).
Rather than seek the consent of the Lawmakers to find an amiable solution, Akpabio abandoned his colleagues at the Red chambers and went to the Presidential Villa, where he is believed to have met with President Tinubu and other Presidential forces to seek advice from them.
On the instructions of the Chief of Staff to the President, Gbajabiamila, Akpabio returned to the Senate hours later. At the resumption of the screening after about three hours, Keyamo apologised to the lawmakers over his conduct in 2020 to both chambers of the National Assembly, when he was invited to explain the ministry’s activities on the public works programme.
Senator Godiya Akwashiki (SDP, Nasarawa) urged his colleagues to accept Keyamo’s apology given his remorseful disposition.
Senator Ali Ndume therefore moved a motion that the Senate accept the apology. The motion was unanimously adopted when it was put to a voice vote by Akpabio.
There were no questions posed to Keyamo by the senators after and he was then asked to “take a leave”.
According to the Senator , Akpabio’s action was a total affront to the 10th Senate.
“Akpabio is a stooge and his holding power in proxy for the Chief of Staff to the President, which is a misnomer and is unacceptable by senators of good conscience and upright will, ” he said.