From Fred Itua, Abuja
Panic has gripped the camp of Godswill Akpabio over claims that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu may review his stance on his support for him in the contest for the Senate president.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) had in a statement announced the endorsement of Senator Akpabio and three others for the topmost positions in the National Assembly.
Akpabio from South South was endorsed for Senate president; Jubrin Barau from North West for Deputy Senate President; Tajudeen Abass, North West for Speaker, House of Representatives; and Kanu, South East for Deputy Speaker.
In addition, Nigerians were outraged by the micro zoning of the position of Senate President to Senator Godswill Akpabio who is at present being investigated by anti-graft agencies for series of cases bothering on sleaze.
Bothered with the implications of supporting a senator facing criminal cases of corruption, President Tinubu was said to have heeded the advice of his trusted political allies by tacitly withdrawing his support for the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Akpabio.
The president, the sources said, was resolute in running a corruption-free government with emphasis on strengthening all the existing policies and institutions concerned with corruption towards achieving this goal.
In his inaugural speech, President Tinubu declared that his government would take “proactive steps such as championing a credit culture to discourage corruption while strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of the various anti-corruption agencies.”
“With this statement”, the senator said, “most of us have come to the full realization of the fact that President Bola Tinubu would not for anything support any senator with myriads of cases of corruption in the anti-graft agencies after declaring before the world that he would strengthen and make them more effective.
“We have seen the follies in remaining in this camp. It will not work. We have fixed a meeting for Thursday where we are going to chart our next line of action.”
Meanwhile, Director-General of the Akpabio/Barau Stability Group, Senator Ali Ndume, said: “It is not surprising that whenever a politically exposed person is contesting elections, some people would be sponsored to raise issues against him or her. Don’t forget that President Bola Tinubu was also severally accused when he was campaigning to be president. We are not actually bothered about what the sponsored groups are saying about Akpabio, the anti-graft agencies know what to do, why are they teaching them what to do?
“They are accusing that some corrupt activities took place under his watch at the NDDC, but they did not said he misappropriated funds as governor or as Minister.
“Akpabio was not the accounting officer of the NDDC, he is only heading the supervising ministry. They also accused him of not constituting the board of the NDDC, but that also, was not his job. The president of the country is saddled with such responsibility.”