The aspirations of Senators-elect Godswill Akpabio and Jibrin Barau for the leadership of the 10th Senate on Tuesday, received a major boost with the endorsement of the duo by the Vice President-Elect Kashim Shettima.
Adressing the over 70 Senators-elect, who are members of the Stability Group rooting for the emergence of Akpabio and Barau as Senate President and Deputy, led by Senator Ali Ndume, at his campaign office in Abuja, Senator Shettima stated that the choice of Akpabio as the number three citizen in the country was the best decision made by the party leadership and the President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the interest of a stable polity based on competence.
According to him, “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, if not, 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 leaders could do to unite this country in the current circumstances”.
Senator Akpabio, he stressed, “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.”
He noted that, “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.”
Speaking further, Shettima thanked Governors Nyesom Wike and David Umahi of Rivers and Ebonyi states respectively, for their contributions and support for the party saying, “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 honor and integrity. He wanted to contest for the Senate leadership but he had to drop it in reverence to the party’s decison.”
Shettima promised to get in touch with APC Senators-Elect, who are 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 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.”
In his response, Akpabio, on behalf of the Solidarity Group congratulated the Vice President-elect on his election and described his choice as the incoming Vice President as the right step in the right direction saying,” your choice is putting a square peg in a square hole”. He also thanked the Vice President-Elect for hosting the group in his campaign office.
The former Senate Minority Leader, informed Shettima that members of the Group were drawn from all political parties who have decided to come together to produce the leadership for 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.
He said 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 Godswill 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,” he said.