The Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, has thrown his weight behind Senators Godswill Akpabio and Jibrin Barau for the positions of senate president and deputy president for the 10th Senate.
Adressing the over 70 senators-elect, who are members of the Stability Group rooting for the emergence of Akpabio and Barau in Abuja yesterday, Shettima described the choice of Akpabio as the best decision made by the leadership of All Progressives Congress, APC, and the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the interest of a stable polity, based on competence.
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, otherwise it would further validate the alleged islamisation agenda of the APC-led administration.
”It would be perceived as a gratuitous insult on 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.”
On Senator Akpabio, he said: “He 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.”
Shettima, who thanked Governors Nyesom Wike and David Umahi of Rivers and Ebonyi states for their contributions and support for the party, said: “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 honour and integrity. He wanted to contest for the Senate leadership but he had to drop it in reverence to the party’s decison.”
The vice president- elect promised to get in touch with APC senators-elect who were yet to come on board with the choices of the party.
“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 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,” he said.
In his response, Akpabio, on behalf of the Solidarity Group, led by Senator Ali Ndume, congratulated the vice president-elect on his election and described his choice as the right step in the right direction.
“Your choice is putting a square peg in a square hole,” Akpabio said, thanking the vice president-elect for hosting the group in his campaign office.
The former Senate Minority Leader told Shettima that members of the group were drawn from all political parties who had decided to come together to produce the leadership of the 10th Senate in order to stabilize Nigeria, not on the basis of political party, religion or tribe but on the basis of conviction, based on integrity.