Last week, the Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, declared that no Igbo man from the South-East region can win the 2023 presidential election.
We tracked two other stories from the National Assembly (NASS) that made the rounds within the week in review.
1. Kalu’s doom prediction
Kalu, on September 20, asserted that an Igbo man cannot win the 2023 Presidency because it was not a regional issue.
The former Abia State Governor stated this while speaking to journalists, in Abuja, shortly after NASS members resumed from their annual vacation.
“I have said this before and I repeat that an Igbo man cannot win the 2023 Presidency because it is not a regional thing. I was in the race, but when it was made clear that the Presidency is not a regional issue, I had to withdraw. I have no problem with Igbo man being President.”
Kalu-type rhetorics are not uncommon in seasons of high level politicking where contestants desperately attempt to de-market their opponents.
His claims also tally with that of the Vice Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Kashim Shettima, who once posited that Obi was not sufficiently prepped to be President of Nigeria.
While both men cannot be denied the right to hold their positions, public opinion continues to project the Labour Party candidate, Obi, not just as a serious contender but a front runner in the 2023 polls.
No doubt, politics is a game of intrigues and numbers, an argument that finds relevance in the surprise disposition of Nigeria’s leading political parties (PDP and APC) not to zone the presidency to the South-East.
All said, the outcome of the presidential polls will either confirm or rubbish Kalu’s claims.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“After a long and painstaking introspection on our contributions to the development of the PDP. After considering the current security situation in the South-East region and the need not to put anybody in harm’s way by a foreseeable combustible political environment, my ambition is not worth the life of any Enugu son or daughter.”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
2. Lawan’s warning
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on September 19, warned that Nigerian youths were now politically aware, and angry at the ruling class due to visible leadership failure in the country.
Lawan issued the warning in Abuja when he declared: “We are way past the time for posturing and political subterfuge. The growing political awareness on the part of Nigerian youths who are disenchanted and angry at ruling class means that we cannot continue with business as usual.”
Lawan’s warning tacitly admits the failure of leadership in Nigeria and lays bare the performance of the ruling party in the past seven years.
Lawan is, therefore, right on the clap back by Nigerian youths. The disenchantment, and anger noted by him were exemplified during the nationwide 2020 EndSARS protests, and may be replicated in 2023.
However, the critical question yet to be addressed is whether politicians, especially of the Nigerian hue, will learn from history. For the ruling party, it is unlikely that it stands a good chance to redeem itself given the shortness of time.
If anything, it is clear that the administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari has lost so much political capital.
3. Rising concerns on oil theft
On September 20, the National Assembly urged the Federal Government to adopt a more productive strategy in tackling the menace of oil theft in the Niger Delta area.
The two chambers, Senate and House of Representatives, made the call at their respective plenaries after resuming from their two-month recess.
It has been argued that Nigeria is, indeed, an active crime scene. Tales out of the Niger Delta are not new but the larger concern is that the leadership across board has paid more of lip service to criminal endeavours in the region.
This is why Nigerian government’s recent N4bn monthly pipeline contract award to ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, to secure oil and gas facilities will continue to receive a backlash.
It remains to be seen if recent howling by the National Assembly will amount to anything significant, as oil theft in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region is a massive chain of collaboration between the state, security agencies and international oil syndicates.
Answer: Senator Ike Ekweremadu
Ekweremadu made the statement, on June 2, in his formal withdrawal from the Enugu State Governorship race. The Senator, who represents Enugu West Senatorial District, is currently detained in London, the United Kingdom, where he is facing trial for organ harvesting.
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