THE WHISTLER has gathered that former governors of Rivers and Ebonyi states, Nyesom Wike and Dave Umahi’s meeting with President Bola Tinubu on Monday was part of moves to save former Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio from being dumped as the All Progressive Congress’ candidate for the position of the Senate President.
The duo alongside Akpabio met Tinubu on Monday behind closed-door with none revealing what was discussed.
But a probe into what may have prompted what a source said was an unscheduled meeting especially as it involved a non-member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the person of Wike, with the visit coming less than one week after Wike had visited the president said it was “aimed at saving Akpabio, nothing more.”
Wike is a member of the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and has not hidden his support for Tinubu and the APC since the conclusion of the general elections.
With the PDP having three senators from Rivers State and 11 out of 13 House of Representatives seats in the state, the APC has appreciated Wike’s endorsement that the ruling party should produce the Senate President and Speaker of the House.
It’s down to the number’s game with the APC controlling the Red Chamber with majority seats while the combined opposition parties control the highest number of the House seats.
With stiff opposition within the APC, there are fears that the opposition parties may likely team up with the opposing APC candidates in order to elect principal officers that would be subservient to the minority caucus’ cause.
Electing opposition deputy Senate president and deputy speaker has also been muted by the opposition APC candidates as a way of extracting commitments from the opposition parties.
Following the stiff opposition within the APC to the announcement of Akpabio as the preferred choice, Tinubu who made the endorsement is reportedly having a change of heart.
It was gathered that his support for Akpabio has waned with sources revealing that the president would not openly withdraw his support for the former Akwa Ibom State Governor.
Instead, sources within the Tinubu camp had told this paper that he’s likely to allow all those vying to be Senate President and Speaker of the House to go ahead and contest on Tuesday, June 13, when the upper house would be convened to elect its principal officers.
It was learnt that Wike and Umahi were drafted in to save the former minority leader of the 8th Senate.
A source privy to the development said “Akpabio drafted the two men to meet with Tinubu in order to assure him that they will do all they can to get him elected.”
Meanwhile, Akpabio did not reply to text messages and calls.
Also, Mary Ekpenyor, an aide to the former Governor did not respond to calls.
The APC had said it was waiting for Tinubu, who then was President-elect to make his choice of those he wanted as principal officers of the 10th Assembly.
He therefore settled for Akpabio and Tajudeen Abbas, a lawmaker from Kaduna State for both the Senate president and Speaker.
But the opposition within the APC, being supported by the opposition political parties have made the choices of the president to descend into chaos.
The source could not say if Tinubu assured Akpabio of his commitment to his cause but said the assurance came from Wike and Akpabio, who explained the strategy they will adopt to produce Akpabio and others.
As part of their strategies , the two immediate governors said they would interface with the senators-elect across all political parties to get the numbers before the D-Day.
The source explained that with former Zamfara State Governor, Abdul-Azeez Yari proving more difficult, essential concessions would likely be conceded to the opposition parties in order to produce Akpabio.
Yari, sensing there were moves to gag him using anti-graft agencies, had gotten an ex parte order from the Federal High Court in Abuja stopping the Economic and Financial Crime Commission from arresting him.
His camp feels his association with former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, and the opposition parties, where they have promised them the deputy Senate president is the x-factor to win the race to the Senate.