Akpabio Names New Minority Leader, Minority Whip

There was an uproar at the Senate plenary on Tuesday following the announcement of Senate Minority Leader and Minority Whip by the Senate President.

Akpabio announced Abba Moro (PDP, Benue South) as Minority Leader and Osita Ngwu (PDP, Enugu West) as the Minority Whip.

He noted that the new minority leaders had the majority support of their colleagues in the opposition.

According to him, 41 minority senators signed the document endorsing Moro as Minority Leader while 30 backed Ngwu for the Minority Whip seat.

Due to the dismissal of Senator Simon Davou Mwadkwon (PDP, Plateau North) and Senator Darlington Nwokocha (LP, Abia Central) by the Court of Appeal, the positions of Minority Whip and Senate Minority Leader became vacant.

The courts nullified the election of Mwadkwon and ordered a rerun while Nwokocha was removed as Augustine Akobundu of the PDP was declared as the authentic winner of the February 25 election in the senatorial district.

Last week, senators elected on the Peoples Democratic Party platform convened an urgent and essential meeting to determine the nominees for the key roles of Senate Minority Leader and Minority Whip.

The opposition members chose the North Central geopolitical zone to produce the Minority Leader, according to Senator Garba Maidoki (PDP, Bauchi), who briefed journalists following the closed-door meeting.

The Labour Party has however rejected the announcement by the senate president. Senator Okechukwu Ezea (LP, Enugu North), who raised a point of order,  protested the absence of his party in the minority leadership and described the arrangement as an injustice against other minority parties.

The complaint led the Senate into a rowdy session with LP lawmakers rejecting their party’s exclusion in the minority leadership.

Akpabio was accused by Senator Tony Nwoyi (LP, Anambra North) of selecting minority leaders for the opposition parties during the commotion.

“How can you be choosing minority leaders for us? Are we your slaves?” Nwoyi fumed.

In an attempt to appease their LP counterparts, lawmakers from the ruling All Progressives Congress sought advice from Akpabio.

The Senate President addressed the opposition legislators and refuted the accusation that he was meddling in their internal issues following a boisterous session that lasted for around fifteen minutes.

It would be unjust, according to Akpabio, to disregard the majority’s voice, and he only disclosed the names that the opposition caucus sent him.

He, therefore, called the opposition caucus to always put their house in order before forwarding any name to him.

He said, “All we need to produce a leader is a simple majority. What’s the reason for not agreeing with the position of the majority?

“Forty-one 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 a majority of support. My job is not to work with individual opinion but with the majority of position.”

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