Anti-subsidy removal forces and Electricity Distribution Companies are fighting back.
While fuel importers are pressing for the retracing of steps from subsidy removal and payment of outstanding subsidy, electricity distribution companies are protesting against the postponement of the tariff hike.
Yesterday, it was alleged that fuel Importers and the distribution companies (DisCos) were behind the plot to impeach Senate President Godswill Akpabio.
Sources said while fuel importers are angry with Akpabio and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for not paying them, at least, two additional months fuel subsidy, following the reversal of the policy, DisCos are said to be moving against the Senate President for allowing Senators to kill their plan to increase electricity tariffs by 40 per cent.
However, the Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), to the Senate President, Eseme Eyiboh, said “there is no cause for alarm.”
Dismissing the impeachment plot, he said “the Senate is harmonious, united and ready to jumpstart its legislative act.”
Eyiboh insisted that the 10th Senate would not be distracted by the machinations of blackmailers.
There were agitations against Akpabio at the weekend fuelled from outside, but which sources said were attributed to disaffection over committee appointments to divert attention.
However, while Akpabio actually faced some heat from some senators who complained about what they described as “Yorubanisation of financial system and economy,” he, more importantly, came under criticism from fuel importers and electricity distribution companies for trampling with their business interests.
The Senate President has been chided in reports over alleged lopsided distribution of ‘juicy committee appointments’ in favour of his supporters who supported his bid for the leadership of the National Assembly.
A source said senators from the North, particularly former governors, and one senator from the Southsouth are presenting All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator Elisha Abbo from Adamawa State the face of the anti-Akpabio group
Abbo has accused Akpabio of marginalising his rivals in the leadership contest and their supporters in the distribution of top committee positions.
However, a source close to the Abbo group disclosed that the grouse of the group is beyond committee appointments.
He said: “The main issue is our fear that Akpabio cannot check this Yorubanisation of the financial system that is going on now.”
The source alluded to recent appointments in Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), pointing out that they were dominated by the Southwest.
He added: “The reason why you can see that Northerners are mostly involved is that most of those being removed and replaced with Yoruba are northerners.”
It was further gathered that the aim of the aggrieved senators is to enthrone a Senate President who can checkmate President Bola Tinubu.
According to the source, the group is liaising with other aggrieved stakeholders, especially petrol importers who believed that they were were shortchanged after reaching agreements with the President and Akpabio on the payment of subsidy to them.
It was gathered that an arrangement had been reached with the presidency that funds generated from the removal of fuel subsidy would be used to settle petrol importers within the first two months of the removal.
The source disclosed that the importers are protesting because the N2 trillion saved through subsidy removal was channelled towards palliatives intervention.
Another interest group said to have infiltrated the ranks of the dissident senators were some Electricity Distribution companies, who had also allegedly reached an agreement with the presidency and Akpabio for an upward review of 40 per cent of tariff.
That agreement was, however, discountenanced on the Senate floor by Akpabio.
The source pointed out that Northern business interest groups were more affected by the decision not to pay the petrol importers.
But, Eyiboh chided those mounting campaigns against Akpabio, describing them as blackmailers.
He maintained that the Senate will not be distracted.
Eyiboh said: “The Senate is united, harmonious and ready to jumpstart productive legislative activities upon resumption from vacation.
“So, no amount of blackmail, especially from the blackmail corridor, will distract the Senate’s collective resolve to give back to the Nigerian people the benefits of the trust they invested in the 10th Senate.
“The 10th Senate under the leadership of Senator Godswill Akpabio has so far demonstrated its avowed commitment to an independent, reform-minded and strong Senate.”