The Presidency on Monday clarified Vice President Kashim Shettima’s remarks on the choice of senate president.
The former Borno State governor has come under criticism from the Northern Elders Forum and other individuals in the region after he canvassed support for the South in the race for the senate presidency.
Shettima had during a meeting with senators campaigning for the emergence of Godswill Akpabio and Barau Jibrin as senate leaders said the nation’s current political structure demanded the emergence of a southerner and a northerner for the National Assembly leadership to ensure justice and equity.
The Director of Information, Office of the Vice-President, Olusola Abiola, who reacted to the criticism trailing the vice president’s comments in a statement in Abuja, said the remarks were taken out of context.
He said: “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 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 have been stripped of context and mischievously circulated as an attempt to minimise 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.”
“It was alarming that such an unambiguous plea was unfairly misconstrued to imply that the vice president said the most incompetent Christian candidate was superior to a Muslim candidate.
“The vice president’s position reflects the stance of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“APC assigned the leadership of the House of Representatives to the North-West and designated the position of Deputy Senate President to the same region.
“At the time the vice-president made his remarks, three contenders for the speakership race had withdrawn their candidacy to support the candidate from the North-West.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.
“It will be illogical for the vice president, a Muslim to second-guess the competence of fellow Muslims in a nation headed by a Muslim president.
“The president has demonstrated unmatched leadership qualities on the strength of which he and his deputy were elected in February.”
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