Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has declared that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was not demanding too much from the Federal lawmakers over his favoured candidates for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly.
Bello made the declaration when members of the Stability Group paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Caucus at its meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in attendance had settled for Senators Godswill Akpabio and Barau Jibrin as favoured candidates for the leadership of the Senate.
It equally endorsed the duo of Honourables Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The South South / North West zoning template for leadership of the Red Chamber and North West / South East for the Green Chamber had since been ratified by the APC National Working Committee.
Amidst insinuation of a threat to the independence of the legislative arm and rejection of the zoning arrangement by certain aspirants in both chambers of Parliament, the Kogi State Governor insisted that it was nothing unusual for a sitting President to show more than passing interest in those who take leadership positions in the National Assembly.
He said: “It is the practice all over the world that presidents and even governors show special interest in who leads the legislative arm of government for the unity of purpose towards delivering dividends of democracy.
“Even America’s democracy is guided, you can’t have it all. If you don’t guide it, we would be moving in different directions.
“I have therefore taken over the choices of the President and the leadership of our party for the positions of the Senate President and Deputy as my personal project. We must support these choices for them to emerge as declared by Mr President and our party.
“The current government needs stability to turn around the fortunes of the people for good and that can’t be achieved in a state of rancour. President Tinubu believes in the capacity of Akpabio to lead the Senate in order to drive home his agenda for Nigerians. Let us give him all the necessary support.”
He said the aspirations of Senators Godswill Akpabio and Jibrin Barau for the positions of the Senate President and Deputy of the 10th Senate already enjoyed his buy-in before the All Progressives Congress National Working Committee unveiled its zoning template and favoured candidates.
He equally revealed that the former Akwa- Ibom State’s performance in office while he was governor was impressive and really endeared him to want to be like him, particularly his uncommon transformation of the south-south state.
He disclosed that because of his trust in the leadership prowess of Akpabio, “even before the issue of zoning came up on who to endorse for the position of the Senate President, I had already told our three Senators to team up with Akpabio. Please when you emerge the Senate President by the special grace of God, have Kogi State and the development of the North Central zone in your mind, particularly the completion and commissioning of the over 90 per cent execution of Ajaokuta Steel Company.”
In his speech, the Senate Presidential hopeful, Senator Akpabio, thanked Governor Bello for his unsolicited support for his aspiration, saying, “I am just hearing from you now that even before I declared my interest in the Senate Leadership, you were already mobilizing for me. Thank you, sir.
“Let me assure you that the 10th Senate is determined to work for Nigerians in a bipartisan manner. We believe strongly that President Tinubu is a total Nigerian. His election was across party lines and that is what we are also bringing to the Senate. We will look at legislation that would make our youth positively engaged to reduce banditry and crimes. We will also support the war against corruption,” he stressed.
Members of the Stability Group who accompanied Akpabio on his visit to governor Bello were the party’s preferred deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, Senators Ali Ndume and Dave Umahi.
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