Senators tackle Godswill Akpabio over choice of Senate minority leaders

In Tuesday’s plenary, Akpabio declared Osita Ngwu (PDP, Enugu West) to be the minority whip and Abba Moro (PDP, Benue South) to be the minority leader.

The majority of their opposition colleagues backed the new minority leaders, according to the Senate President.

According to him, thirty minority senators supported Ngwu for the minority whip position, while forty-one signed the document supporting Moro as minority leader. Other parties in the minority caucus, particularly the Labour Party, were not pleased with the announcement.

Raising a point of order, Senator Okechukwu Ezea (LP, Enugu North), protested the absence of his party in the minority leadership, describing the arrangement as an injustice against other minority parties.

“How can the PDP take three minority leadership seats? This is unfair, unjust, and unacceptable,” he said.

The Senate after that degenerated into a rowdy session with LP lawmakers rejecting their party’s exclusion in the minority leadership.

Amid the uproar, Senator Tony Nwoyi (LP, Anambra North) accused Akpabio of picking minority leaders for the opposition parties.

“How can you be choosing minority leaders for us? Are we your slaves?” Nwoyi tackled the Senate President. Lawmakers from the ruling party made frantic efforts to pacify their colleagues from LP, some of whom approached Akpabio for consultation.

After about 15 minutes of rowdy session, the Senate President addressed the opposition lawmakers and dismissed the claim of his interfering in the affairs of the opposition.

Akpabio said he only announced the names forwarded to him by the opposition caucus and that it would be unfair not to respect the voice of the majority.

He, therefore, urged the opposition caucus to always put their house in order before forwarding any name to him.

He said, “All we need to produce a leader is a simple majority. What’s the reason for not agreeing with the position of the majority?

“41 minority senators signed for Abah Moro and 30 signed for Osita Ngwu. They have the majority. It will be unfair for me not to announce them after getting a majority of support. My job is not to work with individual opinion but with the majority of positions.

“Efforts by Senator Adamu Aliero (PDP, Kebbi) to convince Akpabio to stay action on the seat of the minority whip failed as the Senate President ruled him out of order.

ccording to Aliero, the opposition caucus decided that Abba Moro should lead the minority but had not yet decided who would serve as the minority whip.

However, Akpabio pointed him toward Senate Standing Rule 52(6), which states that a senator cannot testify on a matter that has already been settled.

Thus, Akpabio declared Aliero to be out of order.