A South East group, Justice for Peace Advocacy of Nigeria, (JUPAN), has said that the right thing for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to do, in the coming election into the leadership of the 9th National Assembly, is to allow South East produce both the Reps Speaker and Deputy President of the Senate.
The group’s national president, Austin Okezie, who addressed newsmen at a press conference in Owerri, Imo State on Thursday, along members of JUPAN National Executive Committee (NEC), said APC should “prove to Nigerians that it is a party that is not afraid to do the right thing, by letting the South East produce the two principal officers.
Okezie said, “It is the right thing to do by making sure that South East is considered for both the speakership and the Deputy Senate President.
“This becomes pertinent, because of the need to ensure equity, fairness and justice which of course, our organisation seeks to promote. As it is now, APC has a challenge in its hands to prove to Nigerians that it is a party that is not afraid to do the right thing. We know that PDP has often in the past recognised the South East handsomely when it comes to principal positions of the National Assembly. APC as a Progressives Party, the onus is now on APC not to derail and exclude the region from the principal positions of the 9th Assembly”.
According to Okezie, there is need for the ruling party to maintain a balance in the sharing of the nation’s resources and political offices.
“You can see that the President of the country is from the North West. The Vice President from the South West, and now, the ruling party has zoned the Senate Presidency to the North East, which of course, is not in contention. Our agitation is that both the posts of the Deputy Senate President and Speaker should go to the South East zone for obvious reasons, while the North Central should produce the deputy speaker.
“Then, the President can graciously appoint somebody from the South-South, as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). And when you consider that the National Chairman of the ruling party (APC) is also from the South-South, you will understand that it won’t be a bad idea at all. This arrangement will provide the much-needed balance, such that no region of the country will feel excluded or marginalised in any way. For those clamouring for the speakership to go to the South West, it is a totally unacceptable idea. Because, doing so will mean, ceding undue advantage to the South West to the detriment of others. The South West cannot have the Vice President and the Speaker at the same time, while the South East will have nothing.”
Two APC members, Senator-elect Orji Uzo Kalu, a former Abia State governor, and a House of Reps member-elect, Nkeiruka Onyejiocha also from Abia State, are aspiring to become Deputy Senate President and Speaker of the House of Reps respectively.
The group argued that, with the two lawmakers that the APC should not claim that the South East has no member of the party at the National Assembly as was the case in 2015.
APC is said to have argued it would have considered somebody from South East as a Senate President or Speaker in 2015, had the zone elected an APC lawmaker into the National Assembly then.
Current Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who is from South East is believed to have grabbed the position following what many political commentators referred to as modern political coup, which saw Senate President Bukola Saraki enter into an ‘unwholesome’ alliance with PDP lawmakers against his then party, APC’s design.
By Ebere Ndukwu …
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