Vice-President Shettima Clarifies Statement on Senate Leadership 

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja.

0 676
Nigeria’s Vice-President Kashim Shettima has clarified a statement he made on Sunday during an interactive session with senators campaigning for the election of Godswill Akpabio and Senator Barau Jibrin for the leadership of the 10th Senate, saying it was taken out of context.
Shettima’s clarification was made in a statement issued on Monday by Olusola Abiola, Director of Information, Office of the Vice-President.
The statement reads as follows:
“During an interactive session with senators campaigning for the emergence of Senator Godswill Akpabio and Senator Barau Jibrin to lead the 10th Senate, yesterday, Vice-President Kashim Shettima emphasized the nation’s current political structure and made a case for the emergence of a Southern Christian and a Northern Muslim as the fairest balance to promote inclusivity at the centre.
“Vice-President Shettima’s statement was motivated by a profound awareness of the divisive factors within our great nation and was in harmony with the governing party’s pledge to ensure inclusivity across all regions and among all groups. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has wholeheartedly reassured the country of his dedication to providing every group with equal representation, which has resonated with the Vice-President who shares the same commitment to this honourable endeavour.
“Unfortunately, the Vice-President’s remarks during the parley with the senators, yesterday, have been stripped of context and mischievously circulated as an attempt to minimize the suitability of Muslim contestants in the race for the Senate leadership. The remarks have not only been taken out of context but also misinterpreted to suit an agenda that sabotages our collective bid for unity.
“What Vice President Shettima advocated during the meeting was that, considering Nigeria’s President and Vice President are Muslims, it would not be ill-advised for the lawmakers to choose a non-Muslim contestant, even if against a more qualified Muslim option, in order to achieve balance. It is alarming that such an unambiguous plea has been unfairly misconstrued to imply that the Vice President said the most incompetent Christian candidate is superior to a Muslim candidate. One can understand why this absurd interpretation would be found distressing and hijacked by those with a malicious agenda to push.
“Vice-President Shettima’s position reflects the stance of the APC, which has not only assigned the leadership of the House of Representatives to the North-West but has also designated the position of Deputy Senate President to be held by the same region. At the time of the Vice-President’s remarks, approximately three contenders for the Speakership race had withdrawn their candidacy to support the candidate from the North-West. This well-considered balancing strategy aimed to mitigate the potential for crisis within the country, particularly by those anticipating the domination of leadership from the same religious faith in all branches of government as a signal.
“It would be illogical for the Vice-President, who is himself a Muslim and an essential member of the community, to second-guess the competence of fellow Muslims in a nation headed by a Muslim President who has demonstrated unmatched leadership qualities, on the strength of which they were elected under the banner of the APC last February.
“The Vice-President wishes to distance himself from the wrong and dangerous inferences drawn by the public from his remarks. While some are made innocently and without mischief, there are entities that have seized on the story to cause further chaos that transcends the realm of power politics. This weaponization of our divisions is why the Vice President appeals for inclusivity to prevent any agenda designed to undermine the new government and Nigeria as a whole.
“Before the media interface, the Vice-President became aware that some entities and individuals were covertly pushing for Muslim leadership of the National Assembly with the sole aim of using the instance to legitimize their grievances against the Nigerian state and to prove to their communities that they have been marginalized and must rise to cause chaos. This sheds light on the paradoxical situation where the same lawmakers who opposed a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket are now actively campaigning for political arrangements that would result in Muslims occupying all the highest four or five positions in the country.
“The covert intent of their actions is evident to astute observers of our politics. This is the dimension to which our politics has descended, a dimension that does not align with President Tinubu’s and the APC’s vision of a Nigeria for all, which is the promise that propelled this government to power even when some interest groups attempted to mischaracterize the APC ticket.
“The senators who met with the Vice President are known as the Stability Group, a group of 77 patriots who have signed up for the Akpabio/Barau ticket and believe the pair would represent the interests of the nation and the party. The group is neither an ethnic nor religious group but a collection of well-intentioned senators with a convincing solution to Nigeria’s stability dilemma, as their name implies.
“The Vice President remains grateful to the media outlets that have seen through the mischaracterization and have been able to provide context to those who missed it. We are at a critical point in our nation and cannot afford to lose our focus because of mischief-makers obsessed with starting a fire where there is none. Vice-President Shettima remains grateful to those who have read beyond newspaper clickbait and those who have given him the benefit of the doubt and remain allies for the betterment of the country.” 

Deprecated: File Theme without comments.php is deprecated since version 3.0.0 with no alternative available. Please include a comments.php template in your theme. in /home/vongov/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 6031

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *