10th Senate Contest:  Yari’s Faction Won’t Make Any Head Way - Umahi

10th Senate Contest: Yari’s Faction Won’t Make Any Headway – Umahi

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Ahead of the 13th June inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, there appears to be a two-horse race between Senators Godswill Akpabio and Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari for senate presidency, however, immediate-past governor of Ebonyi State and senator-elect, David Umahi believes that Yari’s quest to grab the seat holds no water.

Umahi, who had aspired to be elected senate president, stepped down for Akpabio when the latter emerged as the preferred candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Yari, a former governor of Zamfara State, who was elected senator in the February 25 election to represent Zamfara West District, has been campaigning to be elected as senate president.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Wednesday night met with 0ver 40 APC senators-elect, in the Presidential villa where he urged them to abide by the party’s zoning arrangements for election of presiding officers of the national Assembly.

According to the president, doing that amounts to supporting his agenda of renewed hope for the country. He equally urged them to cooperate with the executive arm of government for a smooth operation.

Speaking in an interview on Arise News channel programme on Friday, Umahi said that all opposition against the emergence of Akpabio as senate president will amount to nullity. According to him, about 75 senators have already queued behind Senator Akpabio and that is the minimum they expect to get to win the seat as required by the constitution.

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He said they are going by what President Tinubu said that since the APC already has Muslims as president and vice president, it is necessary that the senate president should be a Christian from the South, which Akpabio is qualified for, to provide balancing of power considering that Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and religious state.

On the purported move by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators to back Yari’s faction, and upset the table for the APC, Umahi, who is the who is the chairman of the Akpabio/Jibrin campaign group, dismissed the possibility of their alliance having any effect. He claimed that the PDP G-5 governors, who met with the president on Thursday, assured him of the commitment of their senators in supporting the candidate of the APC.

“PDP can do their meetings but a lot of PDP senators-elect have decided to put the interest of the nation first, before talking about personal interest. That is how it stands now,” Umahi stated.

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On the need to put competence and performance into consideration in the choice of principal officers of the senate, as some people have said, Umahi argued that Akpabio is the most qualified candidate, adding that Senator Barau Jibrin who was nominated by the party for deputy senate president is also qualified.

He said Akpabio did well as governor of Akwa Ibom for eight years and is a national figure.

“The ticket is a stabilising one. It will clear the perception that the president is a Muslim, the vice president is a Muslim and then the speaker is a Muslim. And then you want the senate president a Muslim that could be dangerous. It is unfortunate that we are talking about religion instead of talking about things that will be uniting the country, but you can’t do away with the perception of society. We have to cure the perception of society.”

Umahi said that during the election, many criticized the APC for the Muslim-Muslim ticket including the PDP and wondered why they now turn around to insist on having a senate president from the Muslim faith.

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