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Nigerian ruling party holds parliament as new leaders elected

Nigeria’s ruling party retained leadership of the West African nation’s parliament with the election Tuesday of its consensus candidates as Senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives.

Godswill Akpabio was elected to lead the Senate and Tajudeen Abbas was picked as House speaker before members of parliament who won February elections were sworn into the chambers, where the ruling party has a majority.

In a meeting with Akpabio shortly after his election, Nigeria’s new president, Bola Tinubu, pledged to work with lawmakers “to change the fortune of our country for good.”

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Akpabio, who has been under investigation by Nigeria’s anti-graft agency for alleged corruption during his time as governor of the oil-rich Akwa Ibom state, also becomes chairman of Nigeria’s National Assembly by virtue of holding the Senate presidency.

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“This Senate is about Nigeria and Nigerians. … We will put members of the executive on their toes, particularly the ministers when they are appointed,” he said moments after emerging as the country’s third highest-ranking elected official.

“There are no high hopes with respect to the 10th National Assembly,” Epia said, citing the “iron grip” of the ruling party and the executive on the election of the parliamentary leaders. “We are likely to see that kind of grip permeate all through their tenure,” he added.

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