as ex-govs, CSOs join fray
Reports of plots to impeach Senate President Godswill Akpabio assumed a new twist on Tuesday following indications that no fewer than 10 of the former governors in the upper chamber and a coalition of civic organizations are now calling for his impeachment.
Some pro-Akpabio senators were on Tuesday said to have embarked on a troubleshooting mission to their colleagues even as some of them were reportedly contemplating getting the Dr Abdullahi Ganduje-led All Progressives Congress APC National Working Committee NWC involved.
“The party is just reading a lot of things but we have heard that some of the senators are thinking of meeting with our NWC to help resolve the issue”, said an APC official who said the party had not been officially informed about Akpabio’s travails.
While the anti-Akpabio senators described the earlier reports of planned impeachment as “phantom”, parliamentary watchdog, the Coalition for Parliamentary Democracy CPD asked the Senate President to step down, having reportedly fallen out of favour with his colleagues in the Senate.
CPD, which was reacting to claims from Senator Akpabio’s office that “one South-South Governor” was behind the impeachment threat to remove him from office, counseled Senator Akpabio to stop pointing fingers of accusation and rather come clean on why his colleagues want him out.
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Dr. Menike Johnson, CPD on Tuesday accused Senator Akpabio of seeking to heat up the polity by pointing fingers whereas his colleagues had clearly adduced that his “failure to fit into the duties of a Presiding Officer and providing a transparent and credible leadership as reason for their decision to move against him”.
Insisting that the nation needs a very stable and united National Assembly at this critical time, CPD said Nigerians cannot afford to take a Senate that is plagued by an unstable leadership which does not command the loyalty of the lawmakers
According to the coalition, it is “disappointing” that instead of answering his colleagues, the embattled Senate President “is resorting to a face-saving measure of accusing a state governor; a very dangerous and unstatesmanlike venture that is capable of triggering crisis in the polity”.
“As Parliamentary watchers, we believe that Senator Akpabio should face the issues raised by his colleagues including allegations of lack of transparency, violation of elementary rudiments, conventions and processes of presiding over the Senate, diminishing the integrity of the Senate on financial matters and claims of preferentialism in the management of the Senate.
“The attempt to overheat the polity by blaming external individuals is therefore a self-indicting measure that does not provide the much-expected answers to very critical issue of leadership failure raised by senators against the embattled Senate President.
“Having admitted that he has lost favour with his colleagues; and having no answers to the very serious issues raised by the Senators which borders on leadership failure, we counsel Senator Akpabio to save the nation further trouble by stepping down as Senate President.
“Our nation is in a very critical moment and Nigerians cannot afford a Senate that is plagued by an unstable leadership which does not command the loyalty of the lawmakers”, CPD stated.
A message circulated among northern senators last Saturday by Senator Elisha Ishaku Abbo, had claimed that Akpabio’s loyalists, sponsored the news report about his rumoured planned impeachment in order to set Northern Senators against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Abbo had said! “I woke up today to see over 10 mainstream Nigerian newspapers, all carrying news of a plan to impeach Senator Akpabio by senators from Northern Nigeria. The Whistler Newspaper went ahead to mention Senator Yari, Senator Tambuwal, and Senator Onawo, among others, as the senators behind the move.
As a Northern Senator and an official of the Northern Senators Forum, I make it bold to say that this news is deliberately planted and syndicated by the ‘camp’ of Senator Akpabio just to set President Bola Tinubu against the North.”