Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio and his former political godson, Senator Albert Akpan representing Akwa Ibom North East engaged each other in war of words over the alarm raised through a point of order by Senator Akpan.
Senator Akpan had raised a point of order where he accused the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom State of plotting to cause mayhem in 2019 general election.
Attempts by Godswill Akpabio who is the party leader in the state to react was deliberately turned down by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki. The situation generated pandemonium among the lawmakers, but Akpan who was still on his feet managed to finish his point of order.
While ruling Godswill Akpabio out of order, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki insisted that Akpabio was not sitting in the appropriate seat, hence, he would not be recognised.
“Senator… eh… former Minority Leader, you know you can’t speak from there. You can’t. Go to your seat, when you get to your seat, I’ll recognise you,” Saraki said.
Senate leader, Ahmed Lawan’s intervention did not help the situation as the matter degenerated to party politics in the chamber.
Lawan said: “As it stands today in this chamber, there is no organised sitting arrangement. If he decides to sit there, let him. There is no microphone there. Let us not take the Panadol for his headache. Let me advise, that even though we have only six, seven months to go, let’s do what is right,” he said.
He added that the Clerk of the Senate allocated the seat to Mr Akpabio – a statement Mr Saraki refuted, stating that he directed the Clerk to allocate seats to lawmakers.
Amid the pandemonium, Dr. Saraki asked Mr Akpabio to find a seat with a microphone to make his contribution. His statement fell on deaf as the upper chamber got even rowdier and some senators were seen rising from their seats to confront senators from the opposition party.
“Mr President, Senator Akpan came under Order 43 which is Self-Explanation. You cannot contribute. Akpabio you cannot!,” he said and Biodun Olujimi could be heard shouting “You were not recognised. Keep quiet! What is your problem?!”
Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rule states that, “by the indulgence of the Senate and the leave of the President of the Senate, a senator may make a personal explanation. The statement shall be submitted in detail to the President of the Senate. There is no contribution to be made by any other senator.”
Senator Akpabio insisted: “the seat was allocated to me by the Clerk.”
“I was seeking your attention to re-appraise you of Order 11. The seat was allocated to me by the Clerk and I expect that you were notified. The embarrassment I got today was uncalled for. I demand an apology, not just written but verbal too.”
Amid frayed nerves, other APC lawmakers said:
“He should apologise. Even the PDP apologized to Nigerians. What’s the big deal?,” the voice of Ali Ndume.
Senator Albert Akpan was the Commissioner for Finance when Godswill Akpabio governed Akwa Ibom State between 2007 to 2015.
Both parted ways recently when Akpabio defected to the APC over his soiled relationship with the incumbent Governor, Emmanuel Udom who succeeded him.