PDP SENATE LEADERSHIP: TWIST AS SENATORS DUMP MANAGER, SEKIBO, TIP AKPABIO AS MINORITY LEADER

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The leadership crisis in the Senate cau¬cus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may linger as mem-bers may have dumped the ranking rule in the cham¬ber for a fresher as the Mi¬nority Leader.
Before Friday evening, Senator George Thompson Sekibo from Rivers State and James Manager of Delta State were initial front-run¬ners for the position.
Saturday Sun gathered from a ranking member of the caucus on Friday that the PDP’s zoning of the position of Minority Leader to the South South geo-political zone in the Senate and the House of Representatives was done with the influence of some ranking lawmakers in the National Assembly. “It was done by a clique within the PDP NASS cau¬cus…”, a source stated.
With that sorted, the po¬sition was further narrowed down to Delta State in the Senate, with Senator James Manager as the favourite and Hon. Leo Ogor in the House. Senators, however, kicked against the arrange¬ment when it was discov¬ered that both Manager and Ogor are from Delta State.
In the House, Ogor’s nomination has sailed through “as his colleagues have accepted his nomina¬tion without rancour.” Not so in the Senate as there are conflicting interests to con¬tend with. A new twist has, however, been introduced with the alleged endorse¬ment of former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, as the preferred candidate for the position. Akpabio is a fresh¬er in the chamber having been elected on March 28.
Akpabio surfaced in the scheme following the move by the Deputy Senate Presi¬dent, Ike Ekweremadu to give the position to John Enoh from Cross River state. Though a first timer in the Senate like Akpabio, Enoh was said to have been elected to the House of Reps for three terms before com¬ing to the Senate.
Regardless, it was gath¬ered that the zoning arrange¬ment for minority positions in both chambers was not drawn up by party leaders but by “a clique in the PDP caucuses in both chambers.”
A new Senator also gave further insight into how the zoning arrangement was done and how it would be resolved.
“We did the zoning ar¬rangement among ourselves in the National Assembly; the party was not involved. After the arrangement, we sent the zoning formula to the party without attaching any name to the list. The par¬ty’s duty was to release the zoning arrangement to the public which they complied with.” The party reportedly concurred with the zoning arrangement and left the two caucuses in the National As¬sembly to sort out the names among themselves.
Initially, Senator Manager was favoured for the post but it was discovered that Manager and Ogor are from Delta State. This prompted a section of the caucus to look elsewhere. In considering the ranking rule, the caucus reportedly zeroed in on Riv¬ers State with Senator Seki¬bo with the anticipation that “Manager would be allowed to retain the Committee on Niger Delta Affairs” which he chaired in the Seventh Senate.
Another Senator told Sat¬urday Sun the PDP would not allow the leadership tus¬sle to fester like that of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
But there is a twist. In ar¬riving at the choice of Akpa¬bio, it was gathered that cer¬tain factors were taken into consideration. “One, he is a former governor, and sec¬ondly, former chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum. He has shown that he has the requisite qualities to lead the minority in the chamber.”
It was also gathered that because Akpabio is new in the chamber, “some sections of the ranking rule may be changed to accommodate him.” The source did not, however, state how that would be done, as at Friday evening.
-Sun

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