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Senate: Opposition parties fight Wike, Akpabio over minority leadership positions

Crisis looms in the Senate over the minority leadership positions as opposition Senators are ready for a showdown with Senate President Godswill Akpabio who is believed to lead an attempt to foist candidates on them.

The opposition parties are expected to produce the Senate minority leader, the deputy minority leader, the minority whip and the deputy whip.

The All Progressives Congress with 59 senators having produced the Senate President and Deputy Senate President will fill the positions of Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip.

The Peoples Democratic Party PDP with 36 Senateors; Labour Party, 8; Social Democratic Party, 2; New Nigeria Peoples Party NNPP, 2; Youth Progressives Party 1; and All Progressives Grand Alliance 1 will produce those that will occupy the minority seats.

However, some external forces are believed to be working with internal elements led by the Senate President to foist minority leadership on the Green Chamber.

Former Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers is believed to be leading that pack of the elements from outside the Senate plotting to install the Minory Leader especially.

Wike met Senate President, Godswill Akpabio on Thursday. The meeting held at the National Assembly lasted for several hours. Wike left the parliament around 6:30pm without talking to the newsmen.

The former Rivers State governor is said to have pushed his associate, Kingsley Chinda, as minority leader in the House of Representatives, though he is yet to be confirmed.

But the PDP which has the highest minority seats with 36 senators vowed to resist any plot by the ruling APC or other interested groups to foist a minority leadership on the Senate.

Also, lawmakers from the opposition caucus said they were aware of moves by forces inside and outside the Senate to divide the minority parties and foist a compromised leadership on them. They, however, assured that the plot would fail.

Speaking with Daily Trust yesterday, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said Nigerians should rest assured that the party along with its senators will install a minority leadership that will ensure separation of powers, and checks and balances. He said, “Our Party is a party of process and we follow our rules. On the issue of minority leadership in the Senate, the PDP is in touch with its senators in line with our democratic practice.

“What is paramount for us as a party is to have a minority leadership that will ensure a robust opposition in the Senate and in the general interest of Nigerians.

“We are going to focus on ensuring that the democratic tenets and practices of checks and balances and the principles of separation of powers. We are in touch with our people and their statement is in tune with our position as a party, we are having conversations with them and at the end of the day what you are going to get is our position in having a firm and robust opposition in the National Assembly.

“We will ensure the principle of checks and balances,” he said.

Earlier on Saturday, opposition senators vowed to resist any attempt to foist “compromised leadership” on them by forces within and outside the National Assembly.


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Written by Olusesan Oba

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