Vice President-elect Kashim Shettima has defended the choice of former governor Godswill Akpabio as the preferred candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) for the position of the president of the senate of the 10th National Assembly.
Akpabio emerged as the choice of APC for the senate president after he was endorsed for the same position by President-Elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
However, the choice of Akpabio has resulted in rancour as other aspirants for the position in the ruling party have rejected him
But speaking when he received Tajudeen Abass and Benjamin Kalu as who were also endorsed by the APC as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House respectively on Friday, Shetimma said Akpabio was chosen for the purpose of faith balancing.
He added that it will not be in Nigeria’s best interest for the first four citizens of the country to belong to the same faith.
Shettima said the APC should also not be seen to be lending credence to insinuations of an agenda to Islamise the country.
“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 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 insisted 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.”
However, he said the APC would continue to reach out to those aggrieved by the choice of the party for the positions of Senate President, Deputy Senate President, House of Reps Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
He added that he is also reaching out to some of the aggrieved aspirants.
He said: “I will take it 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 two nights ago. I will sustain that.
“Around 1pm today (Friday), I met with Rt. Hon. Ahmed Wase, the Deputy Speaker. We will continue with the engagements so we can have a rancor-free assembly.”
He also advocated a harmonious relationship between the incoming executive and the legislative arm, noting that what Buhari administration accomplished in the last four years was because of the harmonious relationship between the executive and legislature.