Tensions flared in the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday following the controversial appointment of Senator Abba Moro as minority leader and Senator Osita Ngwu as minority whip by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.
The appointments, seen as a unilateral decision by Akpabio, sparked outrage among lawmakers in the minority caucus.
The appointments replaced Simon Mwadkwon, who represented Plateau North, and Darlington Nwokocha, who represented Abia Central, as minority leader and minority whip, respectively.
The ousted senators had been removed by the Court of Appeal. Mwadkwon, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party ,PDP, served as the former minority leader, while Nwokocha, a member of the Labour Party ,LP, held the position of minority whip.
The announcement of the new appointments led to a heated altercation on the Senate floor. Senator Tony Nwoye of the Labour Party expressed his dissatisfaction, questioning the Senate president’s authority to unilaterally choose minority leaders. Nwoye vehemently objected, stating, “Are we your slaves? Why will the Senate president be picking leaders for us? You have done your worst. You have pushed us to the wall. It is unfair. It is not about me; it is about the institution of the State.”
Despite attempts by some senators to pacify Nwoye, the discontent lingered. Akpabio, in response, explained that the two minority leaders had presented the signatories of senators who supported the decision. He emphasized that the Senate president could only work with the information provided.
Akpabio acknowledged the concerns of the minority parties in the Senate and urged them to put their house in order. The incident underscores the challenges within the Senate, highlighting the need for transparent and collaborative decision-making processes to maintain harmony and fairness among lawmakers.