george-akume-600x357-600x330There are strong indications that the Senate Minority Leader and the former governor of Benue state, George Akume may have dropped his senate presidency ambition, instead prefers to deputise Senator Ahmed Lawan.
Akume who until the latest development was one of the three front runners to the senate presidency is understood to have bowed to the pressure mounted on him by the party hierarchy to drop his ambition and pave way for the emergence of Senator Lawan from the North East.
This indication emerged yesterday at the two day retreat for senators elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress held in Abuja.
Inside sources said Akume’s decision to drop his ambition is predicated on two factors; the Tinubu and the PDP factor.
Though the president-elect has come out publicly to declare that he has no preferred candidate for the senate presidency, however it is understood that his body language is tilting towards Ahmed Lawan. Insiders say that he prefers Lawan because he has known him right from his ANPP days and Lawan has remained steadfast in the opposition since then. Buhari is said not be favourably disposed to the candidacy of both Akume and Saraki because according to insiders, they have been tainted by the PDP.
Therefore, in order for Tinubu not to be seen to be opposed to the choice of the president-elect, he had to queue behind him. Insiders said that any disagreement between Tinubu and the president-elect would open up the party for more crises and this perhaps explains why Tinubu acquiesced to the choice of the president-elect.
Also, Buhari and Tinubu may have settled for Lawan, prevailing on Akume to drop his ambition in order to neautralise the influence of Senator Bukola Saraki who is believed to be backed by PDP elements. While Buhari is opposed to Saraki for two disfiguring reasons; his PDP background and his questionable anti-corruption credentials, Tinubu is said to be opposed to Senator Saraki because of his apparent desire to have the speaker of the House of Representatives.
In Tinubu’s calculation, it would be difficult to have Saraki, a Yoruba as the senate president and still have another Yoruba as speaker when another Yoruba man is already the vice president. With Tinubu’s firm support for Femi Gbajabiamila to emerge the speaker, any factor that would knock out Senator Saraki would be highly welcomed.
So the calculation is if Tinubu backs Lawan, the president-elect would be under obligation to get his people mainly from North East and North West to back Hon Femi Gbajabiamila for the speaker’s position.
However, those in the know believe that it would be the mother of all fights between the PDP elements who are allegedly backing Saraki and those in Tinubu’s camp who are backing Lawan. Curiously, it is not only PDP senators who are sympathetic to the ambition of Saraki, the APC bloc known as the new PDP in APC principally made up of the five defected governors are said to be fully backing Saraki.
This group led by the Kano state governor and senator-elect, Rabiu Kwankwaso has vowed to slug it out with Tinubu. Sources said that the nPDP bloc know that in all their previous fights with Tinubu, they (nPDP) have always come out defeated and this has emboldened them and they know that this is one fight where they win or perish.

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