By Etim Etim
With just three days to the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, Vice President Kashim Shettima has stated that President Bola Tinubu and the NWC of APC are in support of the emergence of Senator Godswill Akpabio as the next Senate President in order to engender diversity, unity and stability of the polity.
Speaking at a dinner organized by the Stability Group, the campaign platform of Senator Akpabio, Saturday evening at Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, the VP stated that by zoning the Senate Presidency to the South-South zone, the party wanted to ensure that the top echelon of the government of the federation was diverse and inclusive, without compromising competence and capacity. ‘’Senator Akpabio is very competent and he has the capacity to lead the 10th National Assembly. At the same time, he is from a very important zone and he is also a man of Christian faith.
So, in line with the Constitution of our country, and in conformity with the plurality of our union, the party and in deed, the President, thought it fit to support him’’, the VP said, emphasizing that these were the same sentiments he expressed earlier in the day at the valedictory session of the 9th Senate.
The dinner was organized in appreciation of all the senators who have shown support for Senator Akpabio and Senator Jibrin Barau. The two have been endorsed by President Tinubu as the next Senate President and Deputy Senate President. The Vice President, who was the special guest of honour at the dinner, said that since the President and the Vice President are Muslims, APC is careful not to present itself as a one-religion party, and that is why the party is supporting Akpabio.
At a personal level, Senator Shettima noted that he had taken steps to promote diversity. ‘’My CSO is an Igbo man who had worked with me when I was governor. He has been a dedicated and loyal officer, even in the heat of the Boko Haram attacks in Borno’’, the VP said, adding that his ADC is a Northern Christian. Senator Shettima also announced, to the pleasant surprise of the guests at the dinner, that he had been campaigning privately for Akpabio and Barau and that he was leaving the dinner early to visit with some senators who are yet to register their support.
Other dignitaries at the dinner were Senator-elect Adams Oshiomhole; Senator-elect Dave Umahi; Senator Jibrin Barau and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume. In his brief remarks, Oshiomhole, who is the Vice Chairman of the Stability Group, said the essence of politics is to promote collective interest, and that the Akpabio-Barau candidacy signifies the need for diversity of the government and stability of the federation.
Engr Dave Umahi, the Chairman of the Group, said the three Senators from Ebonyi and most of the senators from the South East are in support of Akpabio and Barau. He reiterated the point that Akpabio has the capacity, competence and energy to lead the National Assembly. He noted that the dinner was organized to appreciate the over 67 senators who have written down and signed their names as supporters of Akpabio and Barau.
Umahi thanked the party and the government for supporting the Akpabio-Barau ticket and promised that the duo will work to stabilize the country. ‘’Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, and so the character of our government must reflect this diversity’’, said Umahi.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, in his own remarks said that even before he was appointed SGF, he had already identified with the ambition of Akpabio to be Senate President. He noted that his experience in the executive and legislative branches of government (he was governor for 8 years and senator for 12 years) has made him to appreciate the need to build a virile country where every part belongs.
Senator Akpabio himself was full of thanks to the party, the President, Vice President and all his colleagues for their support. He said that he is sure of the support of 80 senators when the vote is taken on Tuesday.
Godswill Akpabio Media Team