Fresh facts have emerged on why some aggrieved senators want to oust the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio.
It was learnt that aside from the disaffection on committee appointments by the Senate President which was diversionary, the aggrieved Senators disclosed that their anger against Akpabio is his incapacity to checkmate what some northern senators are calling the Yorubanisation of the country’s financial system and economy.
Besides his alleged incapacity to checkmate the domination of the Yoruba in the financial ecosystem, the aggrieved senators also fault his alleged refusal to deal with some powerful interest groups, particularly some petrol importers and electricity distribution companies on some proposed financial deals bordering on 40% electricity tariff hike and payment of outstanding money to fuel importers.
Also, some senators against Akpabio fault the alleged lopsided distribution of Grade A committees mainly in favour of his supporters and to the discrimination of those who opposed him during the leadership contest.
While it was gathered that the allegation may have some substance, it has, however, emerged that some rivals of the Senate President may have regrouped, citing his “apparent failure to check the lopsided appointments by the president in favour of the Yoruba, especially in the financial sector.”
Recall that among the senators, who are alleged to have regrouped with a mission of standing up to Senator Akpabio, are some former governors drawn from the North and at least one from the South.
The group has now formally come out by presenting Senator Elisha Abbo (APC, Adamawa North) as the face of the group.
Senator Abbo reportedly accused Akpabio of marginalising his rivals in the leadership contest and their supporters in the distribution of the committee positions.
However, sources within the Abbo group disclosed that the angst of the group was “far more and go beyond the Senate President.”
A source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “The main issue is our fear that Akpabio cannot check this Yorubanisation of the financial system that is going on now.”
The source further alluded to “the appointments at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Customs, among others that have recently been infused with Yoruba leadership. The control of the agencies is besides the appointment of Yoruba Ministers in the financial sector and the blue economy.
“Yes, the reason why you can see that Northerners are mostly involved is that most of those being removed and replaced with Yoruba are Northerners.
“The senators aim to enthrone a senate president the group believes can checkmate President Bola Tinubu.”
Besides the appointments, the source said the group is also said to be working on behalf of “some interest groups in the economy who believe that they were shortchanged after reaching agreements with the president and Akpabio on the payment of subsidy to the petrol importers.”
The source explained that “an arrangement had been reached with the presidency that funds generated from the removal of fuel subsidy would be used to settle petrol importers within the first two months of the removal of subsidy. The fund amounting to N2 trillion has, however, not been so used but rather pushed to palliatives intervention.”
“Another interest group said to have infiltrated into the ranks of the dissident senators were some Electricity Distribution companies who were said to have also reached an agreement with the presidency and Akpabio for an upward review of 40% of the tariff. That agreement was, however, discountenanced on the Senate floor by Akpabio.
“Just like those being pushed out in the appointments in the financial sector, Northern business interest groups are believed to be more affected by the decision not to pay the petrol importers,” the source explained.
When contacted, the Special Adviser on Media to the Senate President, Mr Eseme Eyiboh said the Senate is solidly behind Akpabio.
Eyiboh, who dismissed the allegations against the Senate President, said: “The Senate is united, harmonious and focus to jumpstart productive legislative activities upon resumption from the vacation. So, no unbridled umbrage or innuendo in any guise from merchants of blackmail will distract the senate’s collective resolve to give back to the Nigerian people the benefits of the trust they invested in the 10th Senate. The 10th Senate under the leadership of Senator Godswill Akpabio has so far demonstrated its avowed commitment to innovative, reform-minded and strong Senate.”
Minister enjoyed the support of President Tinubu, Yari, a former governor of Zamfara State, had the backing of some senators.