Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has said all senators in the National Assembly are equal.
He made the remark in response to speculations that he was interested in vying for the position of Minority Leader in the Senate.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had said certain criteria must be met in choosing principal officers elected on the party’s platform, who would lead its members in the Senate.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, who reeled out the criteria on behalf of members of the National Working Committee of the party, listed ranking, region and gender among such criteria.
Though the opposition party zoned the position of Senate Minority Leader to the South-South, where the former governor hails from, he is however, not qualified as the senate rules bar first timers from occupying leadership positions.
“We have directed them to note that in accordance with the practice and convention of our party. The nomination process should take into consideration ranking, gender and religious sensitivities”, Metuh had said,
Speaking after his meeting with members of the NWC in Abuja on Wednesday evening, Akpabio said it was not the question of whether he had interest in the Senate Minority Leadership position, but his capacity to do the job.
Akpabio said, “I came (to see the NWC members) in my usual consultation with the party on national issues.
“It is not a question of interest, it is a question of capacity. So if I have the capacity, my colleagues will decide.
“In the Senate, everybody is equal but some have been there for a long time like the ranking senators and all that. So, when you have the opportunity to be in the red chamber, you have equal rights to aspire to any position but you first have to be sure that your colleagues will be interested in you.
“If my name has been mentioned, probably by my colleagues, and I consult, and at the end of my consultations with stakeholders of our party across the nation, I will be able to make appropriate statement”.
On the lingering controversy over the election of a PDP Senator as Deputy Senate President in the All Progressives Congress-dominated Senate, Akpabio said Ike Ekweremadu was elected across party lines.
Senator Akpabio said: “I think it is very good for democracy because Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President was freely elected by senators.
“If you recall, he scored about 54 votes and the total number of PDP members in the Senate are about 49. Which means he was accepted across party lines. And it is also possible that some of the Senators of PDP did not vote for him and that we probably have more senators of the APC voting for him than the PDP.
“But the major thing is that he was voted for across party lines. That’s the way the senate wants it. They want an experienced person to work with the Senate President and they want a very stable Senate. They want a senate that will be productive, a Senate that will have serious continuity”.