The National Co-ordinator of the Tinubu/Shettima Network in the last election, Alhaji Muhammad Kailani, on Saturday, insisted that former governor of Zamfara State, AbdulAziz Yari, remained the preferred candidate for the 10th Senate Presidency seat.
Kailani, a close associate of both President Bola Tinubu and former president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari warned against using religion to knock out Yari from the Senate presidency race.
He noted that Yari is an ardent supporter and member of Buhari’s defunct Congress for Progressives Change which merged with the Action Congress of Nigeria as well as the All Nigeria Peoples that formed the All Progressives Congress.
According to him, religion cannot be a yardstick or qualification for the 10th Senate presidency seat.
He noted that instead, qualification for the next Senate president should be based on zonal input in the last elections which rated Senator Yari, who hails from the North-West above other contestants
Kailani, flanked by other members of the Tinubu/Shettima Network while addressing a press conference in Kaduna on Saturday, insisted that the issue of first-timer should not be on the front burner of who to occupy the 10th Senate Presidency seat.
This was just as he commended President Tinubu for mustering the courage to deregulate the petroleum sector of the economy, saying that the removal of subsidy would allow for better use of public funds to achieve more meaningful infrastructural development.
He said, “First, Yari is a candidate from the Northwest, with vast executive -cum-legislative experience. Secondly, the North-west is on record to have provided the highest percentage of votes of over 30%, over and above every other geopolitical zone in the country.
“Let us not forget that the president scored a total of 8.79 million. That was how the Northwest emerged tops with 30.0% votes cast in the entire presidential election.
“Even President Tinubu’s immediate Constituency of South West came second with 25.9%. The North Central came third, with 20.0%, while the North East came fourth with 13.5%. The South South came fifth with 9.10%, while the South East came a distant sixth with a mere 1.45%. On the scale of electoral fortunes in that election, Yari’s Northwest beats all.
“We still think Yari is the best among all the people in the race. Our position is not with prejudice to the stand of the APC because the ruling party is also entitled to their opinion in a democracy, though massive protests against APC’s choice of Senate Presidency and Speakership are still raging in the media.
“I saw Southwest governors from Tinubu’s immediate Constituency, rejecting the APC stand. I saw the Coalition of Northern Groups warning against what they see as a direct imposition on the National Assembly. It is now very difficult to conclude that the APC’s final decision is popular enough.”
Kailani added, “The issue of first-time Senator being a backbencher has since been demystified by some senators in the outgoing Senate.
“Look at how a so-called first-timer, senator from Kaduna Central, moved several motions and initiated over 30 bills in less than two years.
“Again, our most-favoured contestant -Abdul’ AzizYari was an Honorable member of the House of Representatives and he is therefore not new to legislative business.
“That’s why our group remains unperturbed by the infantile argument of first-timer and old-timer Senators.
“Well, as a group, we are looking at what the Constitution says as opposed to sentimental arguments of faith-based affinities. Nowhere in the entire Nigerian Constitution has religious affinity been mentioned as a point of consideration for any elective office.”