Days after Senator Godswill Akpabio from Akwa Ibom North West senatorial district was elected the President of the Senate, Vice-President Kashim Shettima has apologised to Muslim faithful and lawmakers for insisting on the election of a Christian Senate President for the 10th National Assembly.
Shortly before the election, the Vice President had said to the chagrin of Muslims: “Under the current dispensation, the worst incompetent Southern Christian is better than the most puritanical Northern Muslim for the Presidency of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The comments intended to ensure a religious balance since the President and himself were of the Muslim faith drew the ire of many, especially Muslims who felt betrayed and made to play second fiddle.
But in an interview BBC Hausa Service Shettima explained: “The comment I made is for the benefit of Nigeria but was misinterpreted. I received confidential intelligence reports that are not suitable for public disclosure.
“I sincerely did not have any intention to cause harm to any individual or the Islamic religion. However, being an imperfect human being, I seek forgiveness from the community and from my Lord. I pledge that I will never reiterate such words again, as I am a devout Muslim, and my family lineage has faithfully followed the path of Islam for more than 1,400 years.
“To anyone who was hurt by my statement, I apologise, as it was never my intention to disparage any religion.”