Fresh Crisis Hits Senate As Northern Senators Reject Move To Snub Ndume, Knock Akpabio Over Appointments
Some northern senators in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have kicked against plans to select Senator Opeyemi Bamidele as the Majority Leader of the 10th Senate.
According to the senators, the push by some South-West lawmakers to fill the position would cause further disaffection in the already polarised Red Chamber.
With lobbying intensifying for leadership positions in the Upper Legislative chambers, one lawmaker told Daily Sun that a precedent had also been set where the campaign coordinator of the Senate president is often named as majority leader.
He wondered why a senator with lesser cognitive experience was picked, calling on the APC National Working Committee to address the imbalance in the Senate, where members from the North were already feeling marginalized.
Naija News reports that Bamidele and Senator Ali Ndume (Borno South), who led Godswill Akpabio’s campaign for Senate President, are battling for the Senate Leader position.
“Now, I learnt that they are pushing for Opeyemi Bamidele for Senate leader. Bamidele is a junior senator who can’t hold the Red Chamber together during any crisis. We know the director of Akpabio’s campaign and Bamidele was the deputy,” the lawmaker told the aforementioned platform.
“When Ahmad Lawan campaigned and got the Senate president, it was the director general of his campaign organisation, Abdullahi Yahaya, that became the Senate leader. When Ndume was campaign director for Saraki, he became Senate leader. When Ndoma Egba was made campaign coordinator for David Mark, it was insisted that he should be the Senate leader.
“Now, they say they want to make the deputy campaign coordinator the Senate leader. Even himself should not have started all these. It does not arise. So, the only reason they are pushing him for the Senate leadership position is because he is Yoruba. And they forgot that it was this same reason that made us to stand for Akpabio.
“If not for some of us, Akpabio would have lost. Even despite the fight that we put on, we escaped with how many votes? Only 17 and Yari needed only nine votes to win. He got 46 already. And you know that at least there were more than 20 people that were in that Akpabio’s camp because of some of us and not because of Akpabio. These are facts. Bamidele has never been in the leadership. Ndume was a minority leader. He was a Senate leader. He led the campaign for Akpabio and he’s older than Bamidele in the National Assembly.”
Meanwhile, some senators have slammed Akpabio over the appointment of chief of staff and deputy to the Senate president.
One of the lawmakers stated that Akpabio should not have appointed two Christians from the south as his Chief of staff and deputy.
He noted the existing practice is that the chief of staff to the Senate president and the deputy are chosen from the North and South and also reflect the two faiths.
The lawmaker also accused the newly elected Senate President of being inaccessible a few days after his emergence.
“That is why he doesn’t seek advice. How can he appoint chief of staff and deputy all from the South? The deputy should be from the North. He is creating problems for himself. If he had sought my advice, he would have taken his chief of staff from the South and deputy from the North. It is wrong,” the northern senator noted.