The ambition of the former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Godswill Akpabio, to emerge as the senate minority leader is facing a major challenge.
This is because two chieftains of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alaye Pedro and Dr. Okechukwu Ibeh, yesterday approached the Federal High Court, Abuja over the issue.
The plaintiffs in an ex-parte application sought an order restraining the senate president, Bukola Saraki, and members of the PDP caucus from the South-South region from appointing the senate minority leader.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, they joined Saraki and Akpabio as the first and second respondents to the suit, which is marked FHC/ABJ/CS/602/2015.
Other respondents are 16 PDP senators from the South South, the duo want the restraining order to last till when their main suit is heard and determined.
According to them, Order 3 (2) of Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended) prohibits the appointment of a first-time Senator into any position of the Senate’s principal offices.
The PDP had zoned the position to the South-South region and former Akpabio is one of the senators aspiring for the position. Others are Senator George Sekibo from Rivers state and Senator James Manager from Delta state.
Akpabio’s ambition has raised eyebrows within the PDP because he is a first-time senator. Principal officers position is usuallly for ranking senators.
The plaintiffs said: “The larger PDP caucus in the 8th National Assembly have concluded plans to subvert the mandatory provisions of Order 3(2) of the Senate Standing Orders.’’
“The PDP South-South caucus is bound to select or appoint the Minority Leader in strict compliance with Order 3(2) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended) which emphasizes ranking as the basis for appointment of principal officers.’’
The plaintiffs’ counsel further sought an order directing the respondents to comply with Order 3(2) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 in the appointment of the Minority leader.
Meanwhile, the Akwa Ibom state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has accused Akpabio, of bribing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) commissioner in the state, Austin Okojie.