ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – The Vice-President-Elect Kashim Shettima has defended President-elect Bola Tinubu for insisting that the South-South should produce the next Senate President.
The zoning formula had since caused crack within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the leadership positions in the 10th National Assembly.
According to the zoning arrangement endorsed by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC, and the President-elect, Godswill Akpabio from the South-South is the preferred candidate for Senate Presidency, while Senator Jibrin Barau from the North-West should be the deputy.
In the lower legislative chamber, Abbas Tajudeen from the North-West should get the position of speaker, while Benjamin Kalu from South-East will get the Deputy Speakership slot.
However, this arrangement has triggered crisis in the party, with some APC lawmakers threatening to revolt.
Shettima speaking when he met consensus candidates of the House of Representatives as well as members of the Joint Task at his campaign office in Abuja, appreciated their efforts to gather support for the party’s candidates.
He said: “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, 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.”
Also, the Vice President-elect promised to do everything possible to reach out to the other aspirants to hear their grievances and chart a way forward.
“I will take upon myself to reach out to the other contenders. Rt Hon Betara is my brother. We are from the same sub-region, 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 I met with Rt Wase, the deputy speaker. We will continue with the engagements so we can have a rancour-free Assembly.”
Earlier in his speech, the Chairman, Joint Task-10th Assembly, Usman Bello Kumo (APC,Gombe), informed Shettima that the group consist of Members-Elect across all the political parties.
According to him, the group was initially not aligned with any candidate but have resolved to go with whatever the APC decides on the leadership of the incoming 10th Assembly.
He said that will create a peaceful atmosphere and a good working relationship with the executive to move the country forward.
“In the 10th Assembly, we will try to work harmoniously with the executive. In the two different instances 7th Assembly, in the 8th Assembly budget were not implemented because they were attacked.
“So if you’re not in the good book of the executive, your budget, your constituency intervention capital projects cannot see the light of the day. But in the 9th Assembly, we are committed to work harmoniously with the executive.”