Shettima backs APC plan, endorses Akpabio, Barau
The Vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima, has approved the leadership zoning plan of the All Progressives Congress for the 10th National Assembly, saying the choice of Godswill Akpabio and Jibrin Barau for President and Deputy President of the Senate, respectively, will ensure stability in Nigeria.
Shettima gave the endorsement while addressing Akpabio and Barau, who visited him in the company of “over 70” senators-elect in Abuja on Wednesday.
Shettima, who is a serving member of the Senate, stated that “politics shouldn’t be a means of disuniting our people, it should rather be a means of uniting us.”
He added, “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.”
Shettima also disclosed that he would reach out to other Senate presidential aspirants who are aggrieved with the choices of the APC.
“Senator Abdulaziz Yari is my brother and friend. We became governors together from 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 the stability and unity of this country in a bipartisan manner,” he said.
The Vice President-elect also thanked Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and David Umahi of Ebonyi States for their contributions and support for the APC.
“The Governor-General of the South-South is a man of honour 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 is 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 decision.
“I have seen the names of those who are yet to join us. Rest assured that we will positively engage them and make them see the 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,” Shettima said.
In his remarks, Akpabio noted that his support group was made up of members from across political parties who decided to come together to produce the leadership for the 10th Senate in order to stabilise Nigeria.
He added that the Stability Group believed that the success of the Tinubu-Shettima administration would be the success of Nigeria.
“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 Godswll 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,” Akpabio said.
Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly on June 13, when presiding officers of the Senate and the House will be adopted or elected, several pressure groups made up of intra and inter-party alliances had emerged in the House.
The NWC of the APC had on May 8, 2023, released the zoning formula for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly, picking Godswill Akpabio (Akwa-Ibom/South-South) President of the Senate; Jibrin Barau (Kano/North-West) for Deputy President of the Senate; Tajudeen Abbas (Kaduna/North-West) for Speaker; and Benjamin Kalu (Abia/South-East) for Deputy Speaker.