N/Assembly: Shettima denies defaming northern muslims

Vice President Kashim Shettima has said he did not in any way disparage northern Muslims over the battle for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly.

Shettima said this as he condemned some organisations that misinterpreted his disposition while establishing that the Senate president’s seat should be reserved for a southern Christian to make a balanced government.

The VP said this on Monday in a statement titled, “VP Shettima Didn’t Disparage Northern Muslims,” issued by his Director of Information, Abiola Sola.

The statement partly read, “During an interactive session with senators campaigning for the emergence of Senator Godswill Akpabio and Senator Barau Jibrin to lead the 10th Senate, yesterday, Vice President Kashim Shettima emphasized the nation’s current political structure and made a case for the emergence of a Southern Christian and a Northern Muslim as the fairest balance to promote inclusivity at the centre.

“Vice President 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.”

Shettima said his stance for the next Senate president to emerge from the South was the position of the ruling APC, adding that it would be illogical to have the leaderships of the two chambers come from the North West as Muslims when the president and vice president are Muslims.

Meanwhile, a civil society organisation, Democracy Watch Initiative (DWI), has knocked the vice president over imposition of candidates on National Assembly members.

Addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, the group’s secretary, Lawal Rabiu Tinka, called on all Nigerians, to rise and get involved in the struggle to free Nigeria from emerging dictatorship.

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The group said it was wrong of Shettima to speak out against the use of religion in politics in one breath and in another manipulate the same religious sentiments to drive a dangerous agenda.

“To warn Kashim Shettima and all those in authority who are pursuing this agenda to weaken judicial and legislative authority that Nigerians and indeed the world, will not stand by and watch them endanger democracy and the rule of law, or push the Nigerian society itself into the danger of descending into disorder.

“This culture unless quickly and comprehensively checked, will severely weaken the growth of imported democratic institutions and impact on service delivery while democracy and the Nigerian state itself will be rendered fragile,” he said.

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