Plot to Remove Akpabio as Minority Leader, Thickens


By Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

There is an ongoing plot in the senate Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus, to remove Senator Godswill Akpabio, as the Minority Leader, over allegations that he has not been properly steering the opposition to play its rightful role.

THISDAY gathered that the plot has been thickening in the last couple of months, but has gained momentum in the last two weeks. 

It has however not been fully set in motion, as those behind the plot are still undecided on his replacement.

Akpabio, a former Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, was elected as the Senate Minority Leader at the inception of the eighth assembly despite being a first time senator. 

The position is normally occupied by senators who have been in the Senate for more than one term.

Akpabio is also accused of not being vocal enough in opposing unpopular policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration. 

THISDAY further gathered that the party national leadership has already intervened to avoid another round of crises from among its members. 

A meeting to the effect was held two weeks ago and it ended with a resolution to maintain status quo.  Last week, some members of the caucus however held a meeting, with the plan to go ahead with his removal and replacement. 

One of the disgruntled senators who spoke with THISDAY off record, said Akpabio’s manner of heading the opposition, has turned the PDP caucus into a laughing stock among their All Progressives Congress (APC) colleagues. 

“The APC senators do not even consider us to be an opposition party, its like we are weaklings who can barely voice our opposition to this government, but the opposition caucus in the parliament, is supposed to be vibrant, “ he said. 

Another senator said even though the caucus  and most of its members, remain ardent supporters of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Akpabio is still expected to act as an opposition leader. 

“He handles that position as if it is a ceremonial one, it is not. It is supposed to be for a vibrant person, who is always ready to tackle issues. The PDP caucus in the House of Representatives is much more vibrant,” he said. 

He further disclosed that despite the intervention of the party leadership, the plot has not abated. 

“Actually we do not need the party to remove any of our executive. There is procedure for that, we secure a simple majority, sign and send a formal notice to the President of the Senate,” he explained. 

Efforts to get Akpabio’s reaction failed, as he did not respond to text messages sent to his mobile numbers as at the time of filing this report.

His Media Assistant, Mr. Aniete Ekong, also failed to respond to a text message sent to him, on the issue.