Nigeria gets new Senate president after fierce legislative contest

Nigeria gets new Senate president after fierce legislative contest

Election held hours after President Tinubu signed much-awaited law to provide loans for students

By Timothy Olanrewaju

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) - Godwill Akpabio was elected as the new Senate president Tuesday in Nigeria after a stiffer contest.

The former governor of the southern oil-rich Akwa Ibom State will head the national legislative assembly and becomes the number three leader in the country.

"Senator Godwill Akpabio, Akwa Ibom polled 63 votes while Senator Abdul'aziz Yari, Zamfara scored 45 votes. Senator Godwill Akpabio is hereby declared winner of the election and elected Senate President of the 10th Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria," the clerk of the Senate, Chinedu Akwubueze, said in the national capital of Abuja.

The hotly contested election came after weeks of negotiations among senators and political leaders across the country.

Before the vote, Nigerians were divided on the choice for the Senate president as both religious and regional considerations came to the fore in the heterogenous country.

Akpabio immediately held a meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the presidential villa.

The election came one day after Tinibu signed a law to legalize the release of loans to students in the country.

The law will enable students to access loans from the federal government’s purse to fund education pursuits or careers, presidential spokesman Dele Alake told journalists.

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