Senator Godswill Akpabio sworn in as Senate President on Tuesday, June 13, 2023. Photo: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelaku
Senator Godswill Akpabio has been elected the President of the 10th National Assembly.
He trounced Senator Abdul’aziz Yari, to emerge the new Senate President on Tuesday.
The former Akwa Ibom governor was returned elected as President of the 10th Senate after scoring 63 votes defeating Senator Yari who scored 46 votes.
Senator Akpabio was subsequently sworn in as the President of the Senate for the 10th National Assembly, succeeding Senator Ahmad Lawan, who is also a member of the 10th Senate.
Meanwhile, Senator Jibrin Barau, who represents Kano North Senatorial District, emerged unopposed as Senate Deputy President, succeeding Ovie Omo-Agege.
Also, a member of the House of Representatives from Zaria Federal Constituency in Kaduna State, Tajudeen Abbas, on Tuesday was elected Speaker of the Green Chamber just as a member representing Bende Federal Constituency in Abia State, Benjamin Kalu emerged the Deputy Speaker of the House for the 10th National Assembly.
Earlier, voting commenced at the Red Chamber in Abuja, Nigeria.
Voting begun at exactly 08:45am on Tuesday on a state by state basis, alphabetically.
Voting ended at exactly 09:15am.
Akpabio was sworn in at exactly 09:44am.
Nominations were received for Senator Yari and Senator Akpabio after which the Clerk of the Senate declared nominations closed in absence of further nominations.
The contest was between Yari, a former governor of Zamfara State and Akpabio, a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and ex-governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Akpabio and Yari are top-ranking chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The former Zamfara governor had before now protested the endorsement of the the former minister by the party and asked that the endorsement be reviewed but the APC did not shift ground.
The party also anointed Barau Jibrin from the North-West for the office of the Deputy Senate President.
Scores of APC Senators in Yari’s camp had also rejected the party’s position and called for a review of the formula, arguing that the North-West gave the President the highest vote and therefore deserves to be compensated.
Some APC members had entreated Yari to drop his ambition to make it a smooth sail for Akpabio but the former governor vowed to fight to the finish.
In the just-concluded elections, the ruling APC secured about 70 seats in the Red Chamber, the highest by any party followed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP) and the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).
Many APC lawmakers had indicated interest to emerge the next Senate President but some of the aspirants stepped down for either Akpabio or Yari.
Akpabio’s Long Walk to Senate President
Akpabio, 60, was trained as a lawyer. The indigene of Ikot Ntuen in the Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State was later appointed as Commissioner by the then Governor Obong Victor Attah in Akwa Ibom State. Between 2002 and 2006, Akpabio was Commissioner of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, as well as Lands and Housing.
He was subsequently elected Akwa Ibom State Governor from 2007 to 2015 under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when he won the Senate seat of the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District.
In the Senate in 2015, Akapbio became the Senate Minority Leader, a post he resigned in 2018 after his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In August 2019, then President, Muhammadu Buhari, sworn in Akpabio as Minister for Niger Delta Affairs after his screening by the National Assembly.
Akpabio resigned in 2022 when he bought the APC presidential ticket but he would later step down for former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu.