The National Vice Chairman in charge of the North Central of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Ahmed Suleiman Wambi, has said that past experience, excellence and party loyalty were ingredients that attracted Senator Ahmed Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to the President for the position of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively.
Wambai told reporters in Abuja that President Muhammadu Buhari and other party leaders showed interests in the candidacies of the two because they are loyal party men with vast experience.
While admitting the choice may not have been based on religious equity, Wambi said the ruling party took the decision to support the two for Nigeria to move forward.
He said: “We have not given Ahmed Lawan the position of Senate President because he is from North-east or Gbajabiamila Speaker because he is from South-west but based on the performance of the party, their contribution and loyalty.
“There was a time Mr. President sent budget to the National Assembly and that proposal was kept there for about seven months.
“Gbabiamila and Lawan were the ones fighting and because of that they received a lot of frustration, traumatisation and intimidation from the present leadership of the National Assembly.
“So, do you think the party and Mr. President should not reward those people? No. We said that despite the fact that the North-west has the president, the South-west has the Vice President, the Senate President is zoned to the North-east, Mr. President felt we should reward Femi Gbajabiamila base on the compelling loyalty and his experience.”
He went on: “Mr. President prefers these people because of their past experiences. We are not saying that there is nobody in the North-central that is qualified, no.
‘’But the issue is that there are certain considerations. We fought for the zone to get Deputy Speaker in the House of Reps and also Senate Majority Leader in the Senate.”
On whether the ruling APC puts the religious balancing into the consideration because Lawan and Gbajabiamila are Muslims, he said: “You do not understand the political dynamism of our country.
‘’Do you think if we concentrate on religion this country will move forward? We go for excellence sometime. We go for those people who can key into the project of change and deliver.
“What do you mean by sensitivity? Between APC and PDP which party is more sensitive? Do you think Muslim or Christianity can provide solutions to the problems of Nigeria? Until Nigerians become aware and key into excellence.
“We should no longer say discriminate against anybody who has something to offer. The moment a nation starts thinking about where someone comes from or the religion he or she practice such a nation is doomed.”
When reminded that some of his members from North-central are scheming to take the position of Speaker, Wambai said the South-West should be allowed to produce the next Speaker.