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‘Real reasons some senators are after Akpabio’

By John Akubo, Abuja
18 September 2023   |   9:27 pm
FRESH details on agitation against Senate President Godswill Akpabio emerged, yesterday, indicating disaffection that followed appointments into committees, was only diversionary. The real angst of a group of aggrieved senators might be suspicion about incapacity of the Senate President to checkmate what some northern lawmakers have called ‘Yorubanisation’ of the country’s financial system and economy.…

Senate President Godswill Akpabio PHOTO: Twitter

FRESH details on agitation against Senate President Godswill Akpabio emerged, yesterday, indicating disaffection that followed appointments into committees, was only diversionary.

The real angst of a group of aggrieved senators might be suspicion about incapacity of the Senate President to checkmate what some northern lawmakers have called ‘Yorubanisation’ of the country’s financial system and economy.

Another contention appeared to be Akpabio’s alleged refusal to deal with powerful interest groups, particularly, some petrol importers and electricity distribution companies, bordering on 40 per cent electricity tariff hike and payment of outstanding money to fuel importers.

Newspaper publications had, last weekend, reported that some senators faulted alleged lopsided distribution of ‘Grade A’ committees.

While it was gathered that the allegation may have some substance, it emerged that some rivals of the Senate President may have regrouped to oppose his alleged failure to check appointments by President Tinubu that favour the Yoruba.

Some of the aggrieved senators are said to be former governors from the North and, at least, one from the South-South.

The group has formally presented Senator Elisha Abbo (APC, Adamawa North) as face of the agitation.

Abbo, in newspaper interviews at the weekend, had accused Akpabio of marginalising rivals and their supporters in the Senate’s leadership contest, with regards to the distribution of committee positions.

But a source within the group, at the weekend, said: “The main issue is our fear that Akpabio cannot check this Yorubanisation of the financial system that is going on now.”

The source, who pleaded anonymity, alluded to appointments at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Inland Revenue Service, and Customs. This is besides the appointment of Yoruba ministers in the financial sector and 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 source added.

It was further gathered that the aim of the senators is to enthrone a senate president the group believes can checkmate President Bola Tinubu.

Besides the appointments, 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.

It was gathered 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 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.