Politics

Why South-South should produce next Senate president – Wike

From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt

Former Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has accused those opposed to the zoning of the senate presidency to the South-South region of deliberately laying a stumbling block for President Bola Tinubu in the National Assembly.

Wike asserted that anybody who loves, believes in the unity of the country, and wants the President Tinubu-led government to succeed, will not hesitate to ensure that the next Senate President should be from the South-South as already determined by the President and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership.

The immediate past Rivers State governor stated this during a media chat in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

“There is something going in the country now about the Senate presidency and the House leadership, and everybody knows my position. My position is that the (Senate) presidency should come to the South-South. We are not talking about the presidency of the country now, we are done with that.

“If you agree that (Senate) presidency should go to the south, tell me the truth, where should it go? It can’t be in the South-West. It can’t be in the South-East. South-South has only produced one Senate president, far back in 1979, Joseph Wayas. South-East has produced over seven.”

He stressed that those who were adverse to President Tinubu’s presidential ambition are still hellbent on laying stumbling block for him at the National Assembly, through their opposition to his preferred choice of former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio as the next Senate President.

“The party (All Progressives Congress) and the President appear to have a soft spot for Akpabio. I would have thought that people will say, look allow this administration to start on a very good foundation, so nobody gives us excuses that why this administration could not start on good footing is because of the rancour between the executive and the legislature.”

The former Rivers State governor maintained that if there is no cordial relationship between the leadership of the National Assembly and the presidency, the country would be distracted by the unnecessary power conflict between the executive and the legislative branches of government.

“If Mr. President doesn’t have a smooth administration, at the end of the day, who suffers? Is it not Nigerians? Let us believe that we are all one, let us give everyone a sense of belonging.”

Wike disclosed that President Tinubu and the APC national leadership preference for Akpabio, who is a Christian, is part of a deliberate strategy aimed at dispersing the misconception generated by the choice of former Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, a Muslim, as the president’s running mate.

According to him, by backing Akpabio and appointing the former Benue State governor, George Akume, as Secretary to the Federation, President Tinubu has demonstrated his sincerity to balance the faith question raised by the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket in the last presidential election.

“Muslim-Muslim ticket was a problem, coupled with the abysmal performance of the last government, it was a double jeopardy. PDP campaigned against it that this country can’t have a President as Muslim and Vice President a Muslim. Somehow, by the president’s own luck, God being by his side, and his doggedness, he was able to make it.

“Mind you, a lot of booty trap were set for Mr. President not to emerge as President. A lot of booty traps were set even by people in his own party. It is correct. There is no government in this world which is a ruling party that can bring up policy that will make your party to be unpopular during election period.

“Within that period of election, you brought the issue of Naira redesign and brought the issue of there was no fuel. Two things that affected the masses. You will know it was a booty trap set against Asiwaju not to emerge. Nobody can deceive me that that policy was not targeted at him.”

The former governor dismissed insinuation that his recent visit to the Presidential Villa was in connection to speculation that he was being offered ministerial position.

According to him, President Tinubu has never during any of their meetings made such offer to him as is being speculated in the media.

“Every week, you see people reeling out different list. What is my business? Mr. President has not called me one day to say, look, this is what I want you to do, for me to say yes or no. But, you see people churning out list. I’m sure this week another list will come out.”

Wike commended President Tinubu for his courage to end fuel subsidy regime in the country.

He argued that the decision clearly distinguished the President as a man determined and prepared for leadership.

“What President did was to tell Nigerians, I am prepared for this job, and that is why some of us, we say, give him a chance.”

He also described the appointment of the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, as the Chief of Staff to the President as most appropriate

Wike has, however, faulted the North retention position of chairman of the People’s Democratic Party Governors’ Forum.

 

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