Home » PDP Demands Senate President’s Resignation, Yar’Adua Takes Over

PDP Demands Senate President’s Resignation, Yar’Adua Takes Over

Senate Showdown: Akpabio Faces Heat Over Budget Padding Claims

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe
Senate budget padding controversy

In a dramatic turn of events that has thrust the Nigerian Senate into the spotlight, the chamber’s spokesman, Yemi Adaramodu, has vocally criticized the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following its call for the resignation of Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio. This call stems from a contentious claim of a N3.7 trillion budget padding, an allegation that has ignited a fierce debate within Nigeria’s political landscape.

The controversy began when Senator Abdul Ningi of the PDP, representing Bauchi Central, made a startling claim during a media interview. Ningi asserted that while the National Assembly passed a N25 trillion budget for the 2024 fiscal year, the Presidency was executing a significantly larger budget of N28.7 trillion, hinting at a possible discrepancy of N3.7 trillion allocated to alleged non-existent projects. The Senate’s reaction was swift. Ningi was challenged to defend his allegations in a plenary session on Tuesday, resulting in his three-month suspension for what was deemed a damaging unfounded claim against the integrity of the Senate.

The PDP’s response was equally quick, with the party issuing a statement through its spokesman, Debo Ologunagba. The statement not only condemned Ningi’s suspension but also called for Akpabio’s resignation to allow for an independent investigation into the budget padding allegations. Further, the statement demanded that Akpabio present himself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over a separate case alleging the looting of N108 billion from Akwa Ibom State during his tenure as governor.

In defense of the Senate and Akpabio, Adaramodu dismissed the PDP’s demands as baseless and reflective of the party’s tendency towards deception. He criticized the call for Akpabio’s resignation as unfounded, framing it as an attempt by the PDP to distract and mislead the public. Amidst this escalating political drama, Senator Abdulaziz Yar’Adua of the All Progressives Congress, representing Katsina Central, has stepped in to fill the void left by Ningi’s suspension, assuming the role of Chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum (NSF). Ningi resigned from this position following his suspension, prompting a unanimous endorsement of Yar’Adua by senators from the North across various political divides.

The Northern Senators’ Forum also saw the appointment of Senator Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno North) as its new Publicity Secretary, succeeding Senator Summaila Kawu (NNPP, Kano South), though the circumstances of Kawu’s departure from the role remain unclear. In his first address as NSF Chairman, Yar’Adua outlined the forum’s primary goal: to champion the interests of Nigeria as a whole, with a particular focus on addressing the challenges faced by the Northern region. He emphasized a commitment to transparency, accountability, and integrity, signaling a new direction for the forum under his leadership.

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