Godswill Akpabio, the new Senate Minority Leader

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the Senate on Tuesday in Abuja, announced the appointment of Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio representing Akwa-Ibom North-West as the Minority Leader in the Red chamber. Making the announcement, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, also announced the appointment of Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP Taraba South) as Deputy Minority Leader. Other appointees of the PDP are Sen. Phillip Aduda (PDP FCT), Minority Whip and Sen. Biodun Olujimi (PDP Ekiti South), Deputy Minority Whip.

But, Senator Kabir Marafa (APC Zamfara Central) immediately challenged the appointments, saying that they violated the senate’s rules on ranking. He challenged the appointment of Sen. Godswill Akpabio who is a first-time senator as minority leader and urged that the appointment should be declared null and void. Citing Order 13(2) of the 2015 Senate Standing Rules, he argued that a ranking senator was supposed to have occupied the position given to Akpabio.

However, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, insisted that the appointment of the officers was PDP’s affair and not for an APC member. He clarified that the rule on ranking only stipulates that ranking senators should be considered first before other non-ranking senators, stressing that the constitution allows any senator to occupy any position. “If the ranking senator cannot take the position for any reason, then the next level of ranking senators can be considered,” he said.

At the point, Saraki ruled Marafa out of order, saying that the PDP senators were not complaining and as such, urged Marafa to “stop crying more than the bereaved’’.

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