Senators within the Nigerian Senate are embroiled in a heated dispute regarding the potential removal of Senate President Godswill Akpabio.

The discord centers around several allegations, including Akpabio’s alleged close relationship with President Bola Tinubu, manipulation of ministerial nominee screenings, and creating instability within the Senate through the appointment of committee leaders.

One of the primary grievances revolves around claims that Akpabio, through his committee appointments, has sown division and discord within the Senate, particularly by sidelining some veteran senators from key committee leadership roles. The discontented senators have also expressed concerns that Akpabio tends to make jokes, is insensitive, and is deemed unreliable.

Signs of a brewing crisis emerged as reports emerged that some senators have begun collecting signatures in preparation for a motion to remove Akpabio when the Senate reconvenes on September 26. These senators contend that Akpabio’s leadership style has failed to unite the Senate effectively.

A particularly contentious issue is the distribution of committee chairmanship and vice chairmanship positions. Comparisons have been drawn to the previous Senate led by Ahmad Lawan, where loyalists were strategically appointed to head A-list committees. In contrast, Akpabio’s appointments have seen both chairmen and vice chairmen positions occupied by his loyalists, leading to allegations of favoritism.

Despite the rumblings of discontent, a member of the Senate leadership expressed skepticism about the success of the impeachment plot. Impeachment requires a two-thirds majority, not a simple majority, making it a challenging task. Furthermore, Akpabio had garnered significant support during his initial election as Senate President, making it unlikely for some senators to support his removal.

A senator sympathetic to Akpabio acknowledged that while the Senate President may have made some errors, they believe these do not warrant his removal. The senator conceded that there may be some animosity within the Senate, particularly among senators who did not secure committee leadership roles to their satisfaction. However, they emphasized that Akpabio’s performance and actions do not currently justify impeachment.

In response to the brewing controversy, Senate Chief Whip, Senator Ali Ndume, defended Akpabio, stating that he had not committed any impeachable offenses. Ndume acknowledged the concerns raised by some senators regarding committee appointments but stressed that the cases would be reviewed. He also highlighted that committee appointments had been approved by the Selection Committee, which comprises members from both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition. The committee includes key Senate figures from various political backgrounds.

As tensions escalate within the Senate, all eyes are on the upcoming Senate session to determine whether the impeachment moves gain momentum or if efforts to address the disputes within the Senate prevail.

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