Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, has offered insight into why the incoming administration settled for former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and Senator-elect for Akwa Ibom North West, Godswill Akpabio for the seat of Senate President of the 10th National Assembly.
Senator Shettima said the Tinubu administration was determined to ensure religious balancing and disabuse the minds of Nigerians that the ruling All Progressives Congress has no Islamisation agenda.
The Vice President-elect made the disclosure on Tuesday night when he played host to members of the Stability Group pushing for the realization of the Senators Godswill Akpabio- Barau Jibrin ticket.
Checks revealed that other contenders for the office are former Zamfara State governor, Senator Abdul Aziz Yari, Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu and Senator representing Niger East, Sani Musa.
Apart from the need for religious balancing, Senator Shettima said the APC power brokers were also convinced of the capacity of the former Akwa- Ibom State governor for the leadership of the Senate.
He said: “Politics shouldn’t be a means of disuniting our people. It should rather be a means of uniting us. The President-elect and the vice-president-elect are both Muslims. It is in the interest of the stability and unity of this country that the next position be given to the Christian faith, if not, it would further validate the alleged Islamisation agenda of the APC-led administration. It would be perceived as a gratuitous insult to our Christian brothers and sisters who stuck out their necks to support us.
“That was why I was quite pleased with the choice of the party leadership that my uncommon brother and leader in the person of Senator Godswill Akpabio should be the number three citizen of this country. The stability of this nation is much more important than whatever political considerations we may think of. “We need to have a stable and united nation before we can talk about politics and positions. This is what our leader could do to unite this country in the current circumstances”.
“Senator Akpabio has the exposure, competence and experience to occupy the office of the Senate President in the 10th Senate, ditto Senator Barau, his deputy. Apart from the need for religious balancing, competence and experience also came into play in our choices.”
“Senator Abdulaziz Yari, is my brother and friend. We became governors together in 2011-2019 on the same political platform, but the nation is superior to other personal considerations. I am quite happy with what I see here today. It is a reflection of those who crave for the stability and unity of this country in a bipartisan manner.”
Speaking further, Shettima thanked Governors Nyesom Wike and David Umahi of Rivers and Ebonyi states respectively, for their contributions and support for the party saying, “The Governor-General of the South-South, is a man of honor and integrity, whatever you see is what you get as far as Wike is concerned. These are people that have contributed immensely to the stability of this country. Umahi is the best performing Governor in the South East. He’s a man of honor and integrity. He wanted to contest for the Senate Leadership but he had to drop it in reverence to the party’s decision.”
The Vice President-elect also assured Senator Shettima and his group that everything would be done to ensure the buy-in of other aggrieved aspirants ahead of June 13 date of inauguration of the 10th National Assembly.
“I have seen the names of those who are yet to join us. Be rest assured that we will positively engage them and make them see reasons why they have to come on board. My principal, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a veteran politician. He knows how to go about bringing them into the fold before the inauguration of the National Assembly.”
Senator representing Borno South and Director General of the Stability Group, Ali Ndume said membership of the Stability Group cuts across political parties divides and they are interested in unity of the country.
“We know very well that once somebody crosses the door into the Red Chambers, you are no longer a Senator of a political party but a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Stability Group members are going to work with the incoming administration to evaluate the policies and ensure the stability of the country.
“We are not here because the party zoned the position to the most ranked Senator from the South South, Senator Godswill Akpabio. We came together to ensure national cohesion and the stability of the polity and to ensure that Nigeria moves forward in the right direction,” he said.
READ ALSO FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE