The permutations of the All Progressives Congress, APC and the president-elect on the emergence of Senator Godswill Akpabio appears to be under threat as statesmen from across religous and ethnic lines are reportedly moving in to calm sensitivities with the prospect of the former Akwa Ibom governor being upstaged.
At present, the tussle has pitched the loyalists of the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari, against those of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, splintering the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress into legacy camps. There have been reports of a silent war raging between the two camps following the micro zoning of Senate President to Senator Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State.
The battle has also set the legislators from the six geo-political zones of the country against one another and widening lines of ethnicity and religion among the senators-elect and their contemporaries in the House of Representatives, a development now spreading to various parts of the country and further generating bad blood amongst Nigerians.
Worried by this development, the northern statesmen including two former military heads of state and some first class traditional rulers in the North and South West were said to have intervened and speaking to key senators to douse the tension and let the country move forward, strongly with the prospects of Akpabio being usptaged.
According to a Senator-elect who spoke to select political correspondents in Abuja, Saturday morning on condition of anonymity, the elder statesmen took the task individually and reaching out to key senators particularly from the North to give preference to Nigeria’s unity and national cohesion in their actions over the election of the Assembly leadership.
In their talks with the senators, the source who disclosed that he had personally honored the invites of two retired Generals and those of two traditional rulers from the North Central and South West on the matter told our correspondent that the major appeal was for the North not to use their higher numerical strength to emasculate the Senate in the contest for its leadership.
“Instead, they appealed to us to emulate the APC governors from the Northern Nigeria who in the most patriotic manner gave all their support to the emergence of a southern candidate for the party and did all within their powers for the victory of Bola Tinubu from the South West at the polls.
“They are talking to us, especially those that have declared interest in the presidency of the senate among us to drop their legitimate ambitions for the sake of unity, cohesion of Nigeria and support the Southern region in producing it”
The Senator- elect, however, confirmed to our correspondent that the Northern Senators were not initially against the South producing the senate president but that they were piqued because of the way the President-elect unilaterally went for Senator Akpabio”
“But, with the seriousness of the moves by these patriotic and highly respected statesmen and the esteemed traditional rulers, I see the major contender from the North, HE Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari dropping the gauntlet and supporting a credible, vibrant and unblemished aspirant from the South.
“Apart from the manner he was choosing by the President-elect, the Northern Senators see an Akpabio led Senate as a bad omen for the North, having been frontally and parochially against the North during the debate for resource control. We can not trust his leadership. He will not protect the interest of the North.
From the North, there are three contenders, namely, Abubakar Yari, Jibrin Barau, and Sani Musa, while from the South are Osita Izunaso, Orji Kalu and Godswill Akpabio whose nomination could be upstaged arising from the talks.