- imaginationSenate President, Godswill Akpabio is the leader of the 10th National Assembly, the Red Chamber
- A lot of issues have been at the center of his leadership since he took over power from former Senate President, Ahmad Lawan
- This article completes all the issues characterising Akapbio's 100 days in office under Bola Tinubu's administration
The president of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, clocked 100 days in office this week.
He was elected to the position on June 13, 2023, in a keenly contested poll shaped by high-wired politics.
Akpabio, a former minister of Niger Delta Affairs and the preferred candidate of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) emerged as the Senate President after scoring 63 votes, while Abdulaziz Yari, his closest rival in the contest, polled 46 votes in the race.
Within three months, the 10th Senate under Akpabio had considered some requests seeking the parliament’s nod from the presidency, including loans, confirmation of nominees and budget amendment.
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These gains were, however, overshadowed by the controversies that rocked Akpabio’s senate presidency in the last three months.
This article presents a list of some of the controversial moments of Akpabio's 100 days in office:
1. Impeachment plot, other controversies
Unlike his predecessors, Akpabio has been piloting the affairs of the Red Chamber without a legislative agenda, which specifies areas the parliament intends to achieve with legislation.
He had promised to partner with the executive for the sole benefit of Nigerians.
The Senate is yet to resume from its long recess when the report of an alleged plot to impeach the Senate President filtered in, with pro and anti-Akpabio groups trading blames.
Akpabio had dismissed the report of the impeachment move, noting the Senate under his leadership is stable.
2. N2 million "enjoyment allowance" saga
The N2 million paid to Senators; a “holiday enjoyment allowance” remark by the Senate President on Monday, August 7, shortly before adjourning plenary for a long recess had attracted heavy criticism from Nigerians.
The “holiday bonus” comment which came weeks after the lawmakers were allocated N70 billion to support their “working conditions” in an amended 2022 supplementary appropriation act, got many talking especially during this period of untold hardship occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal under Bola Tinubu's government.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Magaji Tambuwal, has disowned Akpabio, over his statement that money was sent into their individual bank accounts by the CNA in order to enjoy their annual holiday.
3. Let the poor breathe
The sarcastic “Let the poor breathe” comment by the Akpabio-led 10th Senate amid the prevailing economic hardship attracted widespread anger from Nigerians.
Akpabio stated this while addressing fellow senators at the Red Chambers on Monday, August 7.
The manner in which the motion was adopted as the senators burst into laughter, was viewed as insensitive to Nigerians, which attracted a barrage of criticisms.
In his maiden speech on Democracy Day on June 12, 2023, with regard to the harsh economic experience occasioned by the commencement of implementation of the petrol subsidy removal, Tinubu was caught on a viral video saying: “Let the poor breathe. Don’t suffocate them.”
4. Speedy loan approval
In what could be described as the style of the 9th senate, the senate under Akpabio speedily approved a request by President Tinubu to borrow $800m from the World Bank to scale up the national social safety net programme.
The parliament also gave accelerated approval to Tinubu’s request to amend the N819.5bn 2022 supplementary budget.
Both requests were approved 24 hours after Tinubu sent them to the parliament. This led to an uproar in the polity as critics decried the speed with which the borrowing requests were approved without thorough work.
"I am not sure": Akpabio speaks on social media regulation by 10th NASS
Godswill Akpabio, the president of the Senate, has disclosed that the 10th Senate would not be reviewing the existing social media regulation law.
The Senate president made the comment on Tuesday, September 19, while opening the Parliamentarian symposium at the 12th African Internet Governance Forum (AFIGF2023) in Abuja.
Akpabio’s blunder: Shehu Sani reveals how legislators' accounts are credited
Former Kaduna Central Senator Shehu Sani has ‘revealed’ how accounts of federal legislators in the National Assembly are credited.
He wrote via his verified Twitter handle @ShehuSani that federal lawmakers' accounts are credited under the mute button.