Senate Presidency: Umahi Pulls Out Of Race, Endorses Akpabio
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has withdrawn his candidature for Senate President.
Umahi, who will be a first-time senator when the 10th Senate convenes in June, has instead endorsed Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom.
The Ebonyi governor told reporters after a meeting with Akpabio on Friday that he had met with President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who advised him not to run.
Umahi confirmed that he was not interested in the position of Senate Deputy President and had stepped down to make way for his “brother” Akpabio.
Senator Ali Ndume of Borno South said Akpabio is the president’s preferred candidate for the position, but he did not specify whether he meant President Muhammadu Buhari or the president-elect.
The announcement comes after Kano Governor Abdullahi Ganduje stated that Akpabio would be the next Senate President.
Ganduje made the remarks during a meeting with his Cross River counterpart, Ben Ayade, in Calabar, the Cross River capital, on Thursday.
“The Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will come from the South South and it is no other person than the former governor of Akwa Ibom.
“The uncommon governor, the uncommon minister who is going to be the uncommon president of the senate. So we have resolved that.
“I am giving you assurance, we are waiting for the D-Day that he will be the Senate President of Nigeria,” he said.
The President-elect had finalised plans to appoint Akpabio and Senator Jibrin Barau (APC Kano) to the Senate as president and deputy, respectively.
Akpabio and Barau are two of nine candidates for the Senate presidency of the tenth assembly, which is set to be inaugurated on June 13.
According to reliable sources, the president-elect informed Akpabio and Barau of his decision during a meeting in Abuja.
The former Lagos State governor met with Akpabio, Barau, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti), and Biodun Oyebanji, the governor of Ekiti State.
According to sources, during the meeting, which was called at the request of the president-elect, Barau was asked to withdraw his candidature for Senate President in the interests of national cohesion, fairness, and religious balancing.
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