President Bola Tinubu made another plea to lawmakers on Wednesday to support the All Progressives Congress (APC) party’s proposed consensus candidate for the Senate presidency.
He emphasized that the ‘Renewed Hope Elephant’ (the party’s agenda) has enough room for everyone’s contributions.
During the meeting in Abuja, which wrapped up late in the evening, President Tinubu urged incoming senators to follow the party’s regional zoning plan.
The APC had zoned the Senate presidency to the South–South, favouring Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the deputy Senate presidency to the North-West, with Senator Jubrin Barau as the selected candidate.
However, despite the party’s zoning arrangement announced in early May, some Senate presidency hopefuls continue to vie for the roles.
Senators Abdulaziz Yari, Orji Uzor Kalu, and Osita Izunaso, among others, have refused to withdraw in favour of the party’s consensus candidates, stating they are waiting for the president’s zoning formula.
An insider at the meeting who spoke with Punch revealed that President Tinubu stressed to the lawmakers that accepting the party’s decision was vital to further his administration’s ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda.
Tinubu told the senators-elect that addressing the nation’s challenges was a collective responsibility.
The President said, “At this point in our history and the challenges facing us as a new administration, all hands must be on deck to salvage the unpalatable situation facing the nation. We must see the situation as a pan-Nigerian project for the executive and the legislature to work out solutions to the challenges of the nation.”
Tinubu added that success would only come through collaboration between the executive and the legislature.
He urged the senators-elect to pass his message to their absent colleagues: to curb personal ambitions and prioritize the party’s goals and national interest.
He ended by saying, “Talk to your colleagues that are not here to tow the party line and give the Renewed Hope agenda a chance to succeed. The elephant is big enough for all members, and indeed Nigerians, to have a share of the renewed hope in due course.”
Earlier, Senator Akpabio congratulated the president on the successful presidential inauguration.
He mentioned that since the announcement of the zoning arrangements, most of the party’s senators-elect, led by him and Senator Barau, have made strides in reaching out to other senators-elect, including those from opposition parties, and have received pledges of support.