For the first time since the All Progressives Congress (APC) announced its preferences for the key leadership positions of the National Assembly, Kashim Shettima, Governor of Borno State, has publicly expressed his support for Yobe North senator, Ahmed Lawan, in unmistabkable terms, to become Senate President.
Lawan is the choice of the APC leadership for the presidency of the Senate in the ninth National Assembly, but Borno South senator, Ali Ndume, is pressing on for the contest without restraint.
Shettima was believed to be one of Ndume’s biggest backers, since both of them hail from Borno, and was even believed to have sneaked out of Maiduguri two weeks ago when some pro-Lawan senators visited the Borno State capital in an attempt to persuade him to have a rethink. Shettima would deny the claims but he had never publicly dissociated himself from Ndume.
All that ended on Monday when, addressing journalists in Abuja, Shettima said the people of Borno were supporting Lawan’s aspiration.
“Ndume said his people asked him to contest. But I am the number one citizen of the state. I am not one of the people that asked him to contest,” he said.
Shettima’s claim was in alignment with his coy response to questions from journalists in N’djamena, capital of Chad, on Sunday, in which he said: “All our governors, including those coming to the Senate, are 100 per cent in support of our party’s stance as far as election of new leadership for the National Assembly is concerned.
“As far as Borno is concern, we are in alignment with the aspirations of Mr President and that of our party. Whoever the party endorses for any position, we will solely stand behind such a person because party discipline is absolutely essential for the sustainability of our democratic experiment. If everyone is to vote according to his own free will surely that would be a recipe for disaster or confusion."