The immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has revealed why Senate President Ahmad Lawan is against his bid to succeed him as the President of the 10th National Assembly.
Akpabio revealed that Lawan had led some senators to President-elect Bola Tinubu to thwart his bid to be Senate President.
Speaking to Leadership, the former Senate Minority Whip said Lawan led a team to Tinubu to discredit him.
He said, despite the “antics of Lawan and his co-travelers, I remain the main person to beat, and I am in the race to win.
“No one can discredit me before the president-elect, who knows me very well and can vouch for my integrity. Senator Lawan and his cohorts are merely wasting their time.”
He revealed that he visited Lawan in his residence shortly after the Senate president met with Tinubu for a possible truce.
The former Akwa Ibom State Governor said he was accompanied to the parley by Senators Opeyemi Bamidele, Solomon Olamilekan, Jibrin Barau, and Tokunbo Abiru but that Lawan rebuffed all pleas for peace.
He said: “SP is reacting over the outcome of the APC presidential convention where I publicly withdrew and declared for the president-elect, Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I am proud to belong to the most prestigious club in the world – the Senate.”
Revealing what transpired at Lawan’s residence, Akpabio told the platform, “Myself, Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele, Sen. Barau Jibrin. Sen. Yayi (Solomon Olamilekan) and Sen. TOS (Tokunbo Abiru) all prostrated and pleaded with him (Lawan) to forgive whatever mistakes or misgivings he felt I had committed and to support the aspiration.
“Well, he bluntly refused and said instead, he would support a first-term senator from south/south or sponsor anyone else for the SP job. One of us reminded him of the case of (name withheld), who denigrated the entire institution during proceedings in the 8th Senate.”
Also speaking, a source said: “On aspiring to lead the 9th Senate, there was strong opposition, but HE SP Ahmed Lawan appealed to all that since the incumbent president wanted him, he should be forgiven. He was forgiven and voted. He shouted, ‘I hate Akpabio.’
“At that point, Senator Akpabio asked him (Senate President Ahmed Lawan) in the presence of four of our colleagues that NDDC issues were since settled and put behind us two years before the APC Convention that produced our presidential candidate and now president-elect.
“On that day of the convention, why did he (SP) put a call to Akpabio offering him the same Senate presidency position and five ministerial slots, including petroleum ministry, if he would step down for him as a presidential aspirant?
“The call data records of the two phones can evidence the call (sic). There were two important witnesses and reactions. Peace is essential – Nigeria first.”
The senators who accompanied Akpabio were said to have appealed to him that such a position was not in the interest of the incoming administration.