*Urges massive support for Akpabio for religious harmony in govt
By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
A former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Hon. Yekini Nabena, has said recent development in the polity ahead of Tuesday’s election of presiding officers of the 10th National Assembly has further given credence into why the South-south geo-political zone should produce the next Senate President.
Nabena was reacting to the intervention by President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima on Sunday evening that led to the withdrawal from the race two major contenders for the position of Speaker in the 10th Assembly.
At the said meeting, Hon. Muktar Betara Aliyu from the North-east and Hon. Yusuf Gagdi from the North-central, stepped down from the race for the Speakership of the 10th Assembly and endorsed the preferred candidate of the party from the North-west, Hon. Tajuddeen Abbas for the position.
In a statement released Monday in Abuja, Nabena said it has become clearer that the North can not have both the Vice President, the Speaker, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Senate President at the same time.
According to the Bayelsa born politician, the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket of the President and the Vice President is another genuine factor that should be considered and rally support for the only candidate from the South-south, Senator Godshill Akpabio as the next Senate President because Nigeria is a secular state.
The APC chieftain said: “For the sake of equity, justice and fairness, I will appeal to all the Senators-elect to rally round Akpabio to emerge the next President.
“This has become necessary because the two major contenders in the race for the position of Speaker have withdrawn and declared their support for Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, which means that the road is almost clear for the emergence of another Muslim from the North as number four citizen.
“Therefore, there is need for religious balancing in government and for the fact that only South-south will be left out of equation if the position of Senate President elude the region, hence the more reason Senators-elect should rally support for Senator Godshill Akpabio as the next Senate President.
” As it stands today, the South-west has produced the President, the North-east has the Vice President, the North-west is about to produce the Speaker, (Note that the three of them are Muslims), the North-central has the SGF and the South-east to produce the Deputy Speaker. So, where is the South-south?,” he queried.
The APC chieftain also begged the North “to forgive Senator Akpabio if he has done anything wrong in the past for the sake of national unity and religion harmony by allowing the former Akwa Ibom Governor to emerge the next Senate President.”