Why we settled for Akpabio as Senate President- Shettima
By Tony Akowe, Abuja
Vice President-Elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, has explained the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the President-Elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu insisted on having a Christian as the Senate President to avoid a situation where the first four citizens will be from the same faith.
Shettima said if that is allowed to happen, it will give credence to insinuations of an agenda to Islamise the country, saying the stability of the country was more paramount than any political consideration.
Speaking when members of the Joint Task 10th Assembly led the APC Speaker designate and his deputy on a visit at his private office, Shettima said the Nigerians will be the losers if there is rancourous 10th National Assembly as it will affect the relationship between the Executive and the Legislature.
According to him, the loss of the 2015 Presidential election by former President Goodluck Jonathan was due to the emergence of Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as Speaker in 2011, saying that led to a fragile relationship between the legislature and the executive.
He said a stain in the relationship between the legislature and executive will deny Nigerians dividends of democracy.
Since the endorsement of Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu as Speaker and Deputy Speaker by the APC, there has been protest by other candidates who argued that the zoning arrangement did not put into consideration the principle of equity, fairness and justice.
The APC announced Abass and Kalu for the position of House speaker and Deputy as well as Godswill Akpabio (Akwa/Ibom) and Barau Jibrin (Kano) for Senate president and Deputy by Bola Tinubu.
Several of the candidates for Speaker and Senate President took their protest to the party national secretariat.
While the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu assured them that the party will go back to the drawing board, Shettima said he was already reaching out to the aggrieved aspirants with a view to having a common ground.
According to him: “I will take it upon myself to reach out to the other contenders. Rt Hon Betara is my brother. We are from the same subregion, we are from the same state and I have the best relationship with him. I met him too nights ago, I will sustain that.
“Around 1pm today (Friday), I met with Rt Hon. Ahmed Wase, the Deputy Speaker. We will continue with the engagements so we can have a rancour free Assembly.
“When Obasanjo lost grip of the National Assembly, his first tenure of was a failure. President Buhari could do little in his first term because of rancorous relationship between the executive and the legislature. What was accomplished in the last four years was because of the harmonious relationship between the executive and legislature.
“President Goodluck Jonathan lost grip of the National Assembly when Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal emerged as the Speaker and that rancorous relationship culminate into his defeat in 2015 general election. Mariam Onuoha is my friend, I will reach out to her.”
He added: “What we are trying to avoid is a situation whereby the number one citizen, number two citizen, the number three citizen, the number four citizen are all of the same faith. That will validate the negative narrative of Islamization of Nigeria.
“That is why my principal, a fair minded individual, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu insist the number three citizen must come from the South/south (Christian). The stability of the nation is more important than any other consideration. We are talking about inclusivity.”
He also advised Abass and Kalu to carry carry other political parties along in the distribution of committee chairmen if they emerge Presiding Officers of the House.