Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has withdrawn his bid for the position of Senate President.
Umahi, who will be a first-time senator when the 10th senate is inaugurated in June, has instead endorsed a former governor of Akwa Ibom, Godswill Akpabio.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Akpabio on Friday, the Ebonyi governor revealed that he had met with President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who advised him not to run.
Umahi confirmed that he was not considering the post of deputy senate president and had stepped down for his “brother” Akpabio.
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Senator representing Borno south, Ali Ndume, said Akpabio is the president’s preferred choice for the position, but did not specify whether he was referring to President Muhammadu Buhari or the president-elect.
The announcement follows comments by governor of Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje, who stated that Akpabio would be the next senate president.
Ganduje spoke Thursday during a meeting with his Cross River counterpart, Ben Ayade, in Calabar, Cross River capital.
“The Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will come from the South South and it is no other person than the former governor of Akwa Ibom.
“The uncommon governor, the uncommon minister who is going to be the uncommon president of the senate. So we have resolved that.
“I am giving you assurance, we are waiting for the D-Day that he will be the Senate President of Nigeria,” he said.
Daily Trust had exclusively reported that the President-elect had concluded plans to pair Akpabio with Senator Jibrin Barau (APC Kano) as Senate president and deputy respectively.
Akpabio and Barau are among the nine contenders for the Senate presidency of the 10th assembly, expected to be inaugurated on June 13.
Credible sources told this paper that the president-elect communicated his decision to Akpabio and Barau during a meeting held in Abuja.
The former Lagos State governor had met with Akpabio, Barau, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti) and the Ekiti State governor, Biodun Oyebanji.
Sources said during the meeting, which they said was at the instance of the president-elect, Barau was asked to drop his bid for the Senate presidency in the interest of national cohesion, fairness and religious balancing.
A lawmaker from the South said Barau was prevailed upon to sacrifice his ambition in the interest of peace and tranquility in the country.