The Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima has referred to the duo of Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, (APC, Kaduna) and Hon. Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia) as Speaker and Deputy Speaker in waiting.
Recall that the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC, on Monday endorsed their candidature as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives.
The VP-elect made the reference on Friday evening when the duo accompanied by 178 other members-elect visited him at his campaign office at the high brow area of Asokoro in Abuja.
He expressed delight at the crowd behind the party’s choices saying that he was more than happy, but overwhelmed.
Responding to speeches made by the duo earlier, the VP-elect said: “Thank you so much Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, by God’s grace our Speaker in waiting. And my very good friend, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu, our Deputy Speaker in waiting. To say that I was pleased meeting this collective is an understatement, I was overwhelmed.”
“This collective has come to prove to Nigerians that what binds us together is greater and supersedes whatever divides us. Rt. Hon. Members, the trajectory of global growth is facing Africa and Nigeria to make or mar that transition. 220 million black people, one out of every four black is a Nigerian. Average age in Africa today is 19. The Asian economy, the Asian Tigers are maturing. China today is aging. Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea are all aging. So the future of the world rests on this continent.
“I’m quite glad because this is a gathering of ladies and gentlemen of different political colouration. We are bound together by our collective desire to reposition our nation. I urge you to maintain this momentum, to sustain this brotherhood and sisterhood, so that collectively we can catapult our country to a higher pedestal. The country is in dire state,” he said.
Senator Shettima therefore assured the party’s anointed aspirants of his determination to speak to other contestants sonaa to get their support and forge a united front going into the new administration.
“Be rest assured that we are not only on board this project, I will take it upon myself to reach out to other contenders. Politics as said is all local. Rt Hon. Muktari Betara Aliyu is my brother. We are from the same subregion, we are from the same state. And I have the best of relationship with him. I met him two nights ago, and I will sustain that discussion, so that at the end of the day there will be no winner, no vanquished.
“Around 1 pm today, I met with Rt. Hon Esse, the deputy Speaker. He is someone who’s very close to me. We will continue the engagement so that we can have a rancour free 10th Assembly,” the VP-elect assured.
Speaking earlier, the APC anointed Speakership hopeful, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas told the VP-elect that he will in conjunction with his deputy run an inclusive House which will not disappoint the administration, the party, as well as the country as a whole.
He expressed delight at the prosect of having both the President and his Vice as alumni if the National Assembly, noting that such has never happened before.
“We are here to say we are very grateful to you, to Mr President-elect, and to the party for finding us worthy of this mantle of leadership. I want to assure you that we will not disappoint you, the party and Nigerians. Your Excellency, I want to congratulate us after June 13th if God makes it possible that we will be in the reign of leadership, that we will be extremely lucky, because there’s never being a time in the history of this country where the number one and number two citizens being products of the National Assembly.
“Mr President-elect was a senator, he understands the system very well. You are just an outgoing senator who also understand the system very well. So we believe synergy and working in a mutually beneficial manner will be very easy for us.
Hon. Benjamin Kalu who’s the only surviving APC member from his State in his speech thanked the party and the leadership for considering inclusion and national cohesion in chosing him for the presiding officer s position despite the poor electoral outing the party had in the South East.
“Before now, no South Easterner was in the presiding officer’s position in the last four years, but this time, irrespective of the number of votes that came out from the South East, the party considered cohesion and gave us this. We are grateful.
“Here with me today are members of the House from the South East, we are about 43, and irrespective of the political parties differences they are solidly standing by this your decision. And they will show it on the day of election because this a decision that will give every part of the country a sense of belonging,” Kalu added.
The chairman of the Joint Task – 10th Assembly which has taken over the campaign of the duo, Hon. Usman Bello Kumo earlier introduced them to the VP -elect, saying that the group before the zoning was a neutral one supporting no aspirant nor fighting anyone.
He however said since the party took its zoning decision, the group based on its resolution decided to collapse its structure for the joint ticket to ensure that the party’s position is respected and delivered.