Akpabio speaks on coming late to plenaries, disrupting legislative schdules

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Senate President Godswill Akpabio has dispelled accusations against him “as a habitual latecomer” to plenaries.

He was responding to reports circulating in the media on Sunday, which alleged that he does not attend to urgent matters brought before him by his colleagues before proceeding to the plenary on each sitting day.

The statement, issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Eawme Eyiboh, reads: “For some time, a false narrative has been woven around the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, all in an attempt to give it a semblance of truth.“Although we had ignored the misinformation, it has become necessary to enlighten and educate the reading public so that these stories do not gain traction.

“First, as opposed to what has been bandied in the media that Akpabio is known for lateness to plenary, being an intellectual politician and leader, he believes in Benjamin Franklin’s philosophy of ‘Time is money.’ To him, ‘Time is of the essence.’ And this is exemplified in his sterling achievements in private and public life. Without good time management skills, he could not have attained these feats.

“Secondly, Senator Akpabio as Senate President has absolute respect and regard for his distinguished colleagues and indeed all Nigerians. As the Senate President, he is not oblivious to the fact that he is just one among equals and has no cause whatsoever to undermine the elevated status of Distinguished Senators by always keeping them waiting in plenary.

“However, we want the public to know that as Chairman of the National Assembly, Senator Akpabio and his colleagues are very experienced and conversant with the legislative dynamics and are aware of the enormous legislative and administrative responsibilities of the office of the President of the Senate.“Disruptions or lateness to any schedule of the heads of arms of government, particularly the National Assembly, are usually prioritized, not compromised.

“As the Presiding Officer, Akpabio meets with the Principal Officers before every Plenary, and emergency issues do spring up, which deserve urgent attention. Again, at every other plenary, there are always motions of urgent public/national importance from distinguished senators.

“By the provisions of the Standing Orders and Rules of the Senate, Senators with such motions are required to meet with the Presiding Officer before Plenary. Some of these issues are so urgent and cannot be kept in view, and the President of the Senate is expected to attend to them expeditiously before the commencement of Plenary. These circumstances most times creep into the commencement time.

“The lateness of the President of the Senate to the plenary at any insignificant number of times has never affected the industry of the Senate or deliberately intended to deconstruct the core mandate of the Senate President’s parliamentary core mandate.

“Any insinuation suggesting that Senator Akpabio is ‘habitually late’ and it dates back to when he was Akwa Ibom State governor is but selling a rotten apple, which no discerning mind will buy.

“We can say without equivocation that Senator Godswill Akpabio’s penchant for beating the clock is never in doubt both in appointed and elected positions he has held.

“We, therefore, advise those spreading the gospel of Akpabio’s purported lateness to Plenary to apply brakes and allow the Uncommon Senate President to concentrate on doing what he knows best—giving his all to the service of the nation and humanity,” he concluded.

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