By Florence Onuegbu
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said Senators Godswill Akpabio and Barau Jibrin possessed the political credentials and leadership qualities to bring about uncommon transformation in the country if they emerged as President and Deputy President of the 10th Senate, respectively.
Akpabio and Barau has been endorsed by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC as its preferred choice for the leadership of the 10th Senate and in accordance to the party’s zoning arrangement.
However, there are other senators elected on the platform of APC who have rejected the zoning and have vowed to contest for the two positions.
But speaking while receiving members of the “Stability Group’’, consisting 69 senators-elect, who already endorsed Akpabio and Jibrinin Lagos on Sunday, Sanwo-Olu declared his support for the APC’s zoning decision.
He added that he has also read the legislative agenda initiated by the Akpabio-led group and he believe that the agenda will raise the bar of law-making.
The Lagos State Governor said the APC nomination process to pave the way for election of senate leadership was in order.
Sanwo-Olu added that that it was also instructive that the group was prepared to collaborate with the incoming administration of the President-elect, Sen. Bola Tinubu.
He urged the senate leadership nominees to make purposeful legislations their priority, while maintaining harmonious working relationships with other arms of government without compromising legislative independence.
“Having discussed plans and agenda presented by `Stability Group’ led by Sen. Akpabio extensively, I believe it is appropriate that we, in Lagos State give them our official endorsement.
“This is a project for the stability of the country which will benefit Nigerians, especially the people who elected these distinguished lawmakers-elect.
“They are committed to working harmoniously with the Executive arm of government and this will bring about a win-win for all our citizens and for democracy.
“We are encouraging other lawmakers-elect who are yet to be on this group to fall in line.
“I also appeal to the `Stability Group’ to continue its consultation and collaboration and not to take anyone for granted,’’ Sanwo-Olu said.
He added that members of the group had assured him that they would make the senate leadership as inclusive as possible.
“The diversity they are preaching is reflected in the number of senators-elect in the group; it is not one party. The membership cuts across all parties that are represented in the National Assembly.
“I believe the incoming 10th National Assembly will be about great possibilities and shaping new course for the nation.
“Given the outstanding profile and experience Sen. Akpabio and his group are bringing to the table, I believe there will be new standards and new legislative records will break.
“I will only urge the incoming senate leadership to surpass whatever achievements recorded by the 9th Senate,’’ Sanwo-Olu added.
Akpabio, a former Senate minority leader representing Akwa Ibom Northwest, described Tinubu as “God’s own choice’’ for the country’s leadership.
He noted that the incoming Tinubu administration required the support of dynamic legislative leadership to work together to deliver promises made to Nigerians.
The former Akwa Ibom governor said he would deploy multi-faceted, multi-dimensional and national approaches to law-making, if he became senate president.
He said that the Senate under his leadership would have a complete control over its affairs without being confrontational with the Executive arm of government.
Akpabio said that he and his proposed deputy would work with the Tinubu administration to make the country better and make laws that would support development.
“The `Stability Group’ of the 10th Senate is made up of men and women of integrity. We came to present ourselves to the Lagos State governor and to solicit his support.
“He has thrown his support behind us; he has shown so much hospitality. Today, he endorsed my humble self as President of the 10th Senate and Sen. Jibrin as Deputy Senate President-designate.
“We are not taking this support for granted. This team has senators-elect from different political backgrounds and parties,’’ he said.
Akpabio added that the group was determined to ensure collaboration and support for the incoming administration of Sen. Tinubu whose presidency is a nationalistic project that will bring positive development to Nigeria.
“We want Sen. Tinubu to replicate what has happened in Lagos in the last 24 years of democracy to cover the rest of the country.
“Particularly, we are challenged by the economy; we want to see serious improvement in Internally-Generated Revenue of the nation to enable us to repay our loans.
“We want to see more foreign direct investments. We will support Tinubu through favourable legislations to ensure Nigeria remains investment-friendly and the business destination in Africa,’’ Akpabio stressed.