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N218m Senate Jamboree: Presidency Shops for Akpabio’s Replacement

N218m Senate Jamboree

All is not well with the Senate President, His Excellency Godswill Akpabio as his relationship with the presidency appears to be heading south following last week’s controversial N218 million bonanza in the Senate, Flyingeze has learned.

According to The Leadership, the presidency is miffed at the unfavorable perception Akpabio’s comments on token for senators’ holiday is having on the administration.

It was gathered that members of President Bola Tinubu’s inner circle have reportedly commenced the search for a replacement for the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio.

In what a credible source described as a “secretly guided but desperate search,” the close associates of the President might also tinker with the existing leadership structure in the Senate once the need to replace Akpabio is sealed, it was learnt yesterday.

This development is coming on the heels of the displeasure by the Presidency over Akpabio’s public embarrassment of members of the Senate on Monday last week.

At the close of sitting on Monday last week, Akpabio had announced that the Clerk of the Senate would send a token to the senators in order for them to enjoy their vacation. The announcement did not go down well with the senators even as Akpabio quickly rephrased his statement. The incident was captured on live telecast.

The development, which caused a backlash with some Nigerians berating the Senators for feeding fat on the nation’s treasury, had forced some lawmakers to admit that only N2million was paid to them as leave allowance and not a bogus amount as being bandied around.

Although Akpabio is said to have commenced a rapprochement move to ward off any sanction, an indication that the Presidency was upset over the comments emerged over the weekend when Presidential Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, faulted the senate president for being insensitive to the condition of Nigerians.

Ngelale who appeared on a TV programme also distanced the president from such comments, stressing that Akpabio ought to know better than joke over such a sensitive issue.

But another credible source confided in our correspondent on the condition of anonymity that close allies of the President had already expressed their strong exceptions to the public communication ethics of Akpabio.

A serving Senator from one of the southwest states said Ngelale’s position was not his personal opinion but that of the clique around the president.

Also, Senate Chief Whip, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume has hinted on possible drastic action against Akpabio over the latter’s disclosure that money had been wired to the bank accounts of the lawmakers in order to enjoy their annual vacation.

Senator Ndume, who spoke to the BBC Hausa Service monitored by our correspondent, blamed Akpabio’s public disclosure for the attack on Senators, saying something would be done about the Senate President’s unguarded utterances if he does not desist.

The Borno South Senator emphasised that the N2million allowance paid to each Senator was not out of the ordinary, likening the largesse to the customary annual leave bonus or allowance entitled to employees in an establishment.

“It’s common knowledge that if any employee is going on leave, he/she is entitled to a leave grant. That was the money we received, and it is nothing unusual or special.

“All Senators received N2million. And I am making this comment with a heavy heart, because he (Akpabio) is the cause of this controversy.

“He created an impression as if we were given some special or huge amounts of money. What’s the big deal if I receive N2million allowance in my capacity as a Senator?

“He made a very wrong statement, and I warned him immediately that his comments were unbecoming of an elder.

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