Umahi Drops Senate President Bid, Endorses Akpabio

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David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi state, says he has dropped his senate president bid and endorsed Godswill Akpabio, a former minister of Niger Delta affairs.

Umahi, who will be a first-time senator when the 10th senate is inaugurated in June, said he met with Bola Tinubu, president-elect, who told him not to run.

The senate’s standing orders favour ranking lawmakers – returning senators with legislative experience.

Speaking with reporters after a meeting with Akpabio on Friday, Umahi said he was also not considering the post of deputy senate president.

Umahi Drops Senate President Bid, Endorses Akpabio

“My brother (Akpabio) came to consult with me,” he said.

“Yesterday, I saw the president-elect on his invitation and he told me that he is already committed, and that please ‘don’t run’ and I accepted and stepped down for my brother, senator Akpabio.

“He is my consensus candidate. I also step down for him as the deputy senate president.”

Also speaking, Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south, said Akpabio is the president’s preferred choice, but he did not state who he was referring to between President Muhammadu Buhari and the president-elect.

“As you can see, I am leading the campaign for Akpabio because he is the president’s preferred candidate and we have to put the interest of the country, the party, above any other interest,” Ndume said.

The development came after Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano, said Akpabio would be the next senate president.

Orji Uzor Kalu, current chief whip of the senate, indicated an interest to run for the position too.