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Ahead of next Tuesday’s inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, the Senate Presidency bid of former Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, has received a major boost following President Bola Tinubu’s refusal to impose a leadership on the two chambers of the next National Assembly.

Senators-elect including those of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who hitherto were in support of the party’s preferred candidate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, were said to have now gravitated to Senator-elect Yari’s camp after the meeting between President Tinubu and the federal lawmakers-elect on Thursday.

Already, Senators-elect of the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other minor opposition parties, were said to have made up their mind to support Senator-elect Yari, putting the former Zamfara State governor in clear lead having secured the support of a majority number of the Senators-elect ahead of the June 13, 2023 inauguration date.

Further facts emerged at the weekend that President Tinubu did not at the Thursday meeting with Senators-elect and Members-elect of the House of Representatives, endorsed the APC zoning formula but only charged the incoming legislators to vote for candidates of their choice as Senate President and House Speaker in line with provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the Rules of the National Assembly.

President Tinubu was said to have expressed serious concerns over undermining the independence of the legislature and charged the lawmakers to agree among themselves as provided by the Rules of the Senate.

An APC Senator-elect, who is close to the ruling party’s leadership said that President Tinubu’s action has further showcased him as a true democrat and believer in the Rule of Law, adding that his position was well-received by lawmakers-elect across party lines.

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“President Tinubu has shown that he is a true democrat and firm believer in the Rule of Law. He is a Senator of the Federal Republic and a very experienced politician.

“He understands the workings of democracy in respecting the independence of the legislature and we assured him that no matter who emerged as Senate President and House Speaker, he can always count on our full cooperation.

“The majority of the Senators-elect are supporting Senator Yari. That does not mean that we are in confrontation with President Tinubu or the party. No! Far from that. We are rather deepening our democracy to even help the executive to function well under a stable democratic atmosphere. We are not in confrontation with anybody and I can assure you that we are all on the same page now,” he stated.

The lawmaker-elect, who is from the South-South, however, confirmed that leaders of the APC have started backtracking on Senator Akpabio’s choice in the face of new realities, which have been worsened by Akpabio’s alleged cold relationship with many lawmakers of the 9th Assembly.

According to him, many of the Senators-elect are not at home with Akpabio for accusing National Assembly members of hugely benefiting from large contracts in the NDDC without a proof.

A Senator-elect was recently reported to have queried how an individual, who denigrated the National Assembly can preside over the same institution.

“I have withdrawn support for Senator Akpabio. It’s not only me. Many of us have withdrawn our support and it will show on the floor. I used to have very high regard for Senator Akpabio as a person, but I can’t support him to be the Senate President. How can he (Akpabio) come and preside over an institution which he once described as a cesspit of corruption after benefitting from the same institution,” the Senator-elect was reported to have said.

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Meanwhile parliamentary watch groups including the Coalition for Parliamentary Democracy (CPD), have asked Senator Akpabio to withdraw from the Senate Presidency race if he has no capacity to show but only rely on zoning and external endorsement, which offer nothing to the demand of the office of the Senate President.

After Meeting With Tinubu, Senators-elect Queue Behind Yari (leadership.ng)

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