Vice-President-Elect Kashim Shettima has defended President-elect Bola Tinubu for insisting that the South-South should produce the next Senate President. There is crack within the ruling…

Vice-President-Elect Kashim Shettima has defended President-elect Bola Tinubu for insisting that the South-South should produce the next Senate President.

There is crack within the ruling party over zoning of leadership positions in the 10th National Assembly.

According to the zoning arrangement endorsed by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the president-elect, Godswill Akpabio from the South-South is the candidate for Senate Presidency, while Senator Jibrin Barau from the North-West should be the deputy.

In the lower legislative chamber, Abbas Tajuddeen from the North-West should get the position of speaker, while Benjamin Kalu from  South East will get the Deputy Speakership slot.

This arrangement has triggered crisis in the party, with some APC lawmakers threatening to revolt.

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, Shettima appreciated their efforts to galvanise support for the party’s candidates.

“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.”

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.”

Speaking earlier, 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.”

Abass commended the president-elect and his deputy for their support and finding them worthy to steer the affairs of the next House of Representatives.

“We are very grateful to you, the president-elect and to the party for finding us worthy for the leadership. I want to assure you that we will not disappoint the party. We will work harmoniously with the executive,” he said.

Also speaking, the APC Deputy Speakership candidate, Kalu thanked the APC, Tinubu and Shetimma for rewarding the South-East despite the abysmal performance of the party in the zone during the general election.

“In your magnanimity you decided to show that cohesion was necessary for nation building. But this time, irrespective of the votes that come from the South East, you considered cohesion and gave us deputy speaker, we are grateful.

“Sir, here we have over 153 members some of whom are outside who are in support of the decision that the party has taken. Because this is the decision that will give every part of the nation a sense of belonging,” he said.