The nomination of Akpabio has stirred dust in the party with other contenders for the Senate presidency kicking against it.
Aside from Akpabio and Barau, seven other senators-elect have indicated interest in the Senate presidency including Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North); Sen Abdul-Aziz Yari (APC, Zamfara West); Sen Sani Musa (Niger East); Sen Ali Ndume (Borno South), Sen Osita Izunaso (Imo West), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi South) and Adams Oshiomhole (Edo North). There are reports that Ndume has keyed into the Akpabio/ Barau project.
However, it was reliably gathered that Yari is pushing hard to gain the support of opposition senators-elect in addition to those backing him in the ruling party.
A bloc in the Upper Chamber, which has four former governors; three from the North West and one from North East, who are supporting Yari have reached out to senators-elect, who are members of the PDP to make the former Zamfara governor the Senate president.
CEOAFRICA source reports that in the 109-seat Senate, the APC has 59 senators, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 36; Labour Party (LP) eight, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) two, Social Democratic Party (SDP) two, Young Progressives Party (YPP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) one seat each.
To emerge as the Senate president, contenders require a simple majority of votes. The 10th Senate is expected to be inaugurated on June 13.
Two credible sources told this paper that the bloc has embarked on an aggressive recruitment of senators-elect to actualise their plot.
Hiding under the guise of producing a northern Senate president, the bloc, it was gathered, has a presiding officer in their camp.
“The PDP elements in the APC who are former governors have courted a former Senate president to reincarnate the 2015 scenario. They are mobilising resources to actualise their plot.
“As a key figure in 2015, I know they have the capacity to do it. Their target is to get 60 senators across party lines to key into the project,” he said.
It was also gathered that other contestants from the South- South and South-East are uncomfortable with the choice of Akpabio.
Multiple sources confirmed that other contestants in the two zones have decided to continue with their campaigns while wooing senators from the APC and the other political parties in the Red Chamber.
It was learnt that APC stakeholders from the South East are not relenting in their effort to ensure the zone produces the President of the Senate when the National Assembly is inaugurated in June.
One of the party chairmen from the zone confided in CEOAFRICA source that leaders from the South East are making efforts to convince Tinubu and other stakeholders to support the zone in producing the Senate president.
It was reliably gathered that Akpabio on his part has been unrelenting in his quest to actualise his dream by wooing lawmakers-elect across party lines.
“He has been meeting with senators–elect on the platform of APC, PDP, LP, NNPP, SDP and YPP to get their support,” a source in his camp said.
Opposition reps-elect meet, strategise to produce speaker
Last night, the minority caucuses in the House of Representatives met to strategise on how to produce the next speaker.
The meeting was coming on the heels of two earlier meetings held separately by the PDP caucus and Joint Task-10th Assembly, a platform consisting of lawmakers from all the parties that have members-elect in the forthcoming 10th National Assembly.
The opposition parties, comprising PDP, NNPP,SDP, LP and ADC have the majority in the House of Representatives with 180 while APC has 178.
Two seats – one in Akwa Ibom and the other in Ondo states are pending.
In his address, the convener, Fred Agbedi (PDP, Akwa Ibom, said the meeting was the second in the series of meetings by the minority caucuses after their elections as members of the forthcoming 10th National Assembly.
He said, the race for the offices of the presiding officers, the minority caucuses are the saviours of the forthcoming 10th National Assembly.
He added that, the proliferation of groups in the move to elect the leaders of the 10th National Assembly should not be a distraction but a source of strength for the greater majority to determine the direction which the next Assembly goes.
APC NWC to decide on zoning, others today
Barring any last-minute change, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC would meet today to reach decisions on critical issues affecting the party.
Sources at the party’s national secretariat confirmed to our correspondent last night that the NWC would discuss the issue of zoning of the 10th National Assembly positions.
Agitations are raging on the issue of which geo-political zone gets what, in the 10th National Assembly billed to be inaugurated in June this year.
The issues of religion, ethnicity and region are playing out as the race for National Assembly positions and especially the Senate presidency gathers momentum.
While the party is yet to reach a decision on zoning, many aspirants have sprung up for various positions, while agitations have continued.
The president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had during his meeting with APC governors last Thursday appealed to them to work with the party’s top echelon in deciding how the principal officers of the 10th Assembly would emerge.
The NWC is also expected to discuss the call for the removal of the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and the push for the expulsion of vice chairman of the party Salihu Lukman.
By Ismail Mudashir, Saawua Terzungwe, Balarabe Alkassim (Abuja) & Abiodun Alade (Lagos)