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Senate Presidency: Umahi, Ndume step down for Akpabio

Ahead of the June date for inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, elected Senators on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) continued last night with their horse trading. At the meeting held at the Ebonyi State Governors Lodge in Abuja, the host, Dave Umahi stepped down for Senator Godswill Akpabio in the race for the office of Senate President.

He made the disclosure at the end of the closed-door meeting. Two other contenders for the ticket were also at the enlarged meeting: Senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume and his counterpart, representing Kano North, Barau Jibrin also announced that Senator Akpabio who won last February National Assembly election to represent Akwa- Ibom North West is their consensus candidate.

Governor Umahi said he was stepping down from the race in deference to President-Aelect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu who called him and announced the former Akwa- Ibom governor as his anointed choice. He said:” By yesterday, (Thursday) I met the president elect on his invitation. He said he is already committed and said,” please, hold on” . And I have accepted and I stepped down for Akpabio.” Asked if Akpabio is the consensus candidate of the APC Senators, the Ebonyi state Governor said, ‘he is my consensus candidate. ”

Governor Umahi also confirmed what is in the public domain that the deal has thrown up another leading contender Senator Barau Jibrin for the position of Deputy Senate President. Senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume who confirmed that he would no longer be contesting also said he would also be leading Akpabio’s campaign for Senate Presidency on the instruction of the President elect.

He said:” I am not only stepping down, I will be leading the campaign for Akpabio, because he is the President’s preferred candidate and we have to surrender to the interest of the party. That’s above any other interest. Asiwaju has said I should lead this campaign. So, you can see how popular Akpabio is. ! Responding, Senator Akpabio thanked his colleagues for backing his aspiration for the exalted seat. “I give all glory to Almighty God, and I have always said that, Insha Allah, (God willing) the will of God will be done in Nigeria.


Source: Tribune



North-West gave Tinubu highest votes, deserves senate presidency – CNG

The Coalition of Northern Groups has said the North-West should be considered for the position of the senate president given that the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, got his highest votes from the zone. It also said it would be unfair if the position was zoned to the South since Tinubu is from there.

The spokesperson for the group, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, in an interview with our correspondent on Thursday said, “Ideally and for the sake of fairness and balance, the South as a whole should not expect the senate presidential slot with the President-elect coming from there. “I think we should reasonably be looking at functions here. The functions of the vice-president are just nominal, which means the North might not be seen to hold a functional position just because it has the vice-president. The next functional office after that of the president is therefore the Senate Presidency.

“In this case, since the South has the highest functional office, the next, which is the senate presidency, should legitimately remain in the North, assuming that means anything. It will then be for the North to sub-zone the position to either the North-West or the North Central.” He, however, argued that for, the North-West should have it, having played a critical role in the victory of the APC in the February 25 presidential election.

“The North-West, without a doubt, was where the President-elect got the bulk of his winning votes over and above even his own region, the South-West,” he added. Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Pan Niger-Delta Forum, Chief Ken Robinson, said it was the turn of the South-South to produce the next senate president.

Ken Robinson, in an interview with Saturday PUNCH on Thursday, said, “PANDEF’s position is that it is the turn of the South-South to produce the senate president. We recall that the last time anyone from the South-South occupied that office was in 1983. We had it in 1979. Since then, especially in this dispensation that started in 1999, we have not had a taste of that office. “We have said the South-East, at some point, had the senate presidency as a birthright. From 1999 to 2007, they produced four senate presidents.

“As manoeuvring intensifies over the leadership of the 10th National Assembly, PANDEF asks the leadership of the APC, which has the majority of senators-elect, to zone the position of senate president to the South-South.” Meanwhile, the President of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr Bitrus Pogu, said the region was with Obi on the election petition he filed at the tribunal. He stated, “We at the MBF still stand with Peter Obi, who was our presidential candidate in the election. As long as the court process is still on, we don’t want to get involved with all those permutations and lobbying (for NASS leadership).


Source: Punch



US F-16 jet crashes during training south of Seoul

A US F-16 fighter jet crashed in a farming area south of Seoul during a training exercise on Saturday, said the US military, but appeared to have caused no casualties or property damage. The jet’s pilot safely ejected before the crash and was taken to the nearest hospital, the US Air Force said in a statement.

“An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing crashed in an agricultural area near Osan Air Base at about 9:45 am” in Gyeonggi province, the statement said. The crash occurred during a routine training exercise, it said, adding an investigation was underway. The local fire department was dispatched to the crash site and extinguished the fire, Gyeonggi Governor Kim Dong-yeon said on his Twitter account.

Local media said the crash involved no casualties or damage as it took place in a rural area. “There are no civilian homes nearby the crash, causing no further damage (other than the jet),” a police official was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency. Washington is Seoul’s key security ally and stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea to help protect it from the North.


Source: Guardian