Northern Governors, Others, Seriously Mounting Pressure On Tinubu To Remove Akpabio

by Ohepo Ohepo

In the midst of the N3.7 trillion budget padding scandal, Northern Governors and Other Stakeholders Put Pressure On Tinubu To Remove Akpabio As Senate President –Sources

SaharaReporters has learned that President Bola Tinubu is under pressure from northern governors and other stakeholders to ensure Senate President Godswill Akpabio’s ouster or suffer severe political repercussions.

SaharaReporters also learned that President Tinubu was beginning to feel the heat from the political scene due to Ningi’s suspension.

Leading aides to the National Assembly informed SaharaReporters that Senate President Akpabio had underestimated the intensity surrounding the budget padding controversy.

“Beyond what Akpabio had predicted, the suspension of Senator Ningi is intensifying the political climate in Nigeria. President Tinubu is starting to feel the heat.

“What Akpabio and his group accomplished in the National Assembly has President Tinubu upset. A source told SaharaReporters that Tinubu is under pressure from northern governors to fire Akpabio or risk a civil war.

On behalf of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ningi of the Bauchi Central Senatorial District recently claimed that ₦3.7 trillion had been added to the 2024 budget.

The lawmaker said that rather than using the National Assembly’s approved budget, the Senate leadership had bloated the one that is now in effect.

The claim incited fury from the public, but the member maintained that the N3.7 trillion could not be justified in the budget for 2024.

There are two budgets in circulation, he claimed, and the one being implemented right now isn’t the one approved by the National Assembly.

In an interview with the BBC Hausa Service, Ningi said that President Tinubu’s administration was carrying out a budget that was far larger than what the National Assembly had approved.

Instead of the N28.7 trillion being implemented, he demanded that the N25 trillion budget was discussed and approved.

Nonetheless, the President refuted Senator Ningi’s assertions in a statement released by Special Advisor to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga.

Onanuga said that President Tinubu never gave the joint session of the National Assembly a budget of N27.5 trillion, which was composed of N9.92 trillion for recurrent expenses, N8.25 trillion for debt servicing, and N8.7 trillion for capital expenditures. Instead, he submitted a budget of N25 trillion.

According to a report by SaharaReporters, senator Agom Jarigbe, who represents the Cross River North Senatorial District, disclosed that a few senior senators received N500 million each from the budget.

On the Senate floor last Tuesday, Senator Jarigbe revealed the information amidst controversy surrounding Senator Ningi’s claims of budget padding.

The leadership of Senate President Godswill Akpabio has come under fire from many Nigerians for the purported scam.

According to SaharaReporters, the Senate suspended Senator Ningi for three months on Tuesday due to the budget padding accusation after a boisterous session.

President Tinubu met in private at the State House with Senate President Godswill Akpabio, Deputy Senate President Jibrin Barau, and a few other legislators shortly after Ningi’s suspension.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a civic organisation, has threatened to sue the Senate over Ningi’s suspension in the meantime.

Additionally, SaharaReporters has learned that in order to counterbalance the perceived lopsidedness, President Tinubu has been persuaded by the North to require Akpabio to direct a portion of the contentious N3.7 trillion to regional projects.

Amidst all of this, it was discovered that Tinubu had given Akpabio a deadline to bring back Senator Ningi, who had been suspended.

One of the things the North is asking Tinubu to do is force Akpabio to allocate a portion of the N3.7 trillion that was added to the budget to initiatives that will help the North in order to balance the imbalanced spending.

According to one of the sources, “Tinubu has given Akpabio an ultimatum to reinstate Senator Ningi.”

In the meantime, Akpabio is meeting with senior editors in Lagos today along with a delegation of senators. According to a source, the goal is to “see” the editors and persuade them to begin producing uplifting tales about the Senate.

According to reports from last week, Akpabio has been granted permission by the Nigerian government to spend N2.5 billion on deep freezers, generators, and other items as part of his empowerment programmes for the people in his area.

Popular social media critic Mahdi Shehu tweeted a screenshot of the budget on X, showing that the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs included five N500 million empowerment projects for the residents of the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District.

Wonders never cease: N2.5 billion has been approved for Akpabia to purchase deep freezers for his country. Anyway, given his past accomplishments and the fact that he became Senate president without running for office, anything and everything is conceivable with Akpabio. “Disgusting,” Mahdi wrote as the screenshot’s caption.

One of the initiatives aims to empower women by providing them with deep freezers, generators, and other empowerment items. The goal is to increase their daily earnings in both the I\OΓ and ABAK local governments of North West Senatorial District, which are each worth $250 million.

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