Speculations on the plots to impeach Senate President Godswill Akpabio became more serious on Tuesday following reports that more than 10 former governors in the upper chamber and a group of civil society organizations joined the impeachment campaign.
Some senators who support Akpabio tried to persuade their colleagues on Tuesday and some of them were thinking of involving the All Progressives Congress APC National Working Committee NWC led by Dr Abdullahi Ganduje.
“The party is just reading a lot of things but we have heard that some of the senators are thinking of meeting with our NWC to help resolve the issue”, said an APC official who said the party had not been officially informed about Akpabio’s travails.
Although the earlier reports of planned impeachment were dismissed as “phantom” by the senators who oppose Senator Akpabio, the Coalition for Parliamentary Democracy CPD, a group that monitors the parliament, called for the Senate President to resign, saying that he had lost the confidence of his fellow senators.
CPD also advised Senator Akpabio to stop blaming “one South-South Governor” for the impeachment threat, as his office had claimed, and to explain why his colleagues want him out.
CPD’s National Coordinator, Dr. Menike Johnson, issued a statement on Tuesday, accusing Senator Akpabio of creating tension by pointing fingers, while his colleagues had stated that his “failure to fit into the duties of a Presiding Officer and providing a transparent and credible leadership as reason for their decision to move against him” was the reason for their decision to move against him.
The CPD stressed the importance of having a strong and cohesive National Assembly at this crucial moment for the nation. It said that Nigerians deserve a Senate that has a stable leadership that enjoys the trust of the legislators, not one that is constantly under threat of instability.
According to the coalition, it is “disappointing” that instead of answering his colleagues, the embattled Senate President “is resorting to a face-saving measure of accusing a state governor; a very dangerous and unstatesmanlike venture that is capable of triggering crisis in the polity”.
“As Parliamentary watchers, we believe that Senator Akpabio should face the issues raised by his colleagues including allegations of lack of transparency, violation of elementary rudiments, conventions and processes of presiding over the Senate, diminishing the integrity of the Senate on financial matters and claims of preferentialism in the management of the Senate.
“The attempt to overheat the polity by blaming external individuals is therefore a self-indicting measure that does not provide the much-expected answers to very critical issue of leadership failure raised by senators against the embattled Senate President.
“Having admitted that he has lost favour with his colleagues; and having no answers to the very serious issues raised by the Senators which borders on leadership failure, we counsel Senator Akpabio to save the nation further trouble by stepping down as Senate President.
“Our nation is in a very critical moment and Nigerians cannot afford a Senate that is plagued by an unstable leadership which does not command the loyalty of the lawmakers”, CPD stated.
According to Senator Elisha Ishaku Abbo, who sent a message to northern senators last Saturday, some supporters of Akpabio were behind the news report that alleged Akabio’s imminent impeachment. The message claimed that the aim of the report was to create animosity between Northern Senators and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
In his words “I woke up today to see over 10 mainstream Nigerian newspapers, all carrying news of a plan to impeach Senator Akpabio by senators from Northern Nigeria. The Whistler Newspaper went ahead to mention Senator Yari, Senator Tambuwal, and Senator Onawo, among others, as the senators behind the move.
As a Northern Senator and an official of the Northern Senators Forum, I make it bold to say that this news is deliberately planted and syndicated by the ‘camp’ of Senator Akpabio just to set President Bola Tinubu against the North.”