The leadership style of the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio was on Tuesday called to question again, as the upper legislative chamber announced the names of minority leaders
The Senate was also thrown into a rowdy session following the announcement of two minority leaders by Akpabio allegedly against the wishes of the members of the minority parties.
The seats of the Senate Minority Leader and Minority Whip had become vacant after the Court of Appeal sacked their former occupants, Senator Simon Davou Mwadkwon of the PDP, Plateau North, and Darlington Nwokocha, of the LP, Abia Central) respectively.
In separate rulings, the appellate court had nullified the election of Mwadkwon and ordered a rerun while Nwokocha was removed outright with Augustine Akobundu of the PDP declared as the authentic winner of the February 25 election in the senatorial district.
It was learned that PDP senators had held a meeting last week at the National Assembly Complex and decided on replacements for the principal positions of Senate Minority Leader and Minority Whip.
However, during plenary on Tuesday, a mild drama occurred in the upper chamber when Akpabio announced the duo of Abba Moro (PDP, Benue South) as Minority Leader and Osita Ngwu (PDP, Enugu West) as Minority Whip.
While making the announcement, Akpabio said the new minority leaders had the majority supports of their colleagues in the opposition and said 41 minority senators signed the document endorsing Moro as minority leader while 30 backed Ngwu for minority whip seat.
However, the announcement was not well taken by senators in the minority caucus, especially the Labour Party, who promptly challenged Akpabio.
Senator Okechukwu Ezea (LP, Enugu North), was the first to raise a point of order protesting the absence of his party in the minority leadership, which he described as injustice against other minority parties.
“How can the PDP take three minority leadership seats? This is unfair, unjust, and unacceptable,” Ezea said.
Adding his voice to the heated debate, 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 said.
The row went on for about 15 minutes after which the Senate President addressed the opposition lawmakers and dismissed the claim of his interfering in the affairs of the opposition.
He 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, and therefore, urged the opposition caucus to always put their house in order before forwarding any name to him.
“All we need to produce a leader is a simple majority. What’s the reason for not agreeing with the position of the majority?” He queried.
“41 minority senators signed for Abah Moro and 30 signed for Osita Ngwu. They have the majority. It would be unfair for me not to announce them after getting the majority of support. My job is not to work with individual opinion but with the majority of position,” he added.
This is not the first time, Akpabio’s leadership has caused fracas within the hallowed red chamber.
It would be recalled that Sen Ali Ndume (Borno State) once complained that Akpabio does not let lawmakers make meaningful contributions during debates.
Ndume, who is the chief whip of the Senate, had at a time stormed out of the red chamber after he was ruled out of order by Akpabio.
Ndume had cited order 54 of the standing rules to draw attention to the manner Akpabio presides over the affairs of the senate.
The Borno senator said proceedings under Akpabio are most times not in line with the standing rules of the senate.
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