Despite the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) zoning of the position of Senate President to the North-east and the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to the South-west, the South-east Alliance (SEA), a group comprising all principal stakeholders and accomplished personalities from the zone has advocated for the position of the Speaker.
The Director of Media and Publicity of the group, Mr. Kingsley Ononuju, disclosed this while addressing journalists at the national secretariat of the party, yesterday in Abuja, after the group held a meeting with the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomole.
He said that if indeed the federal character was an indelible principle of the Nigerian Constitution, it must find expression in the incoming ninth National Assembly.
Ononuju stressed that it was common knowledge that in the first term of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the South-east, did not head any of the three arms of government despite the fact that it was part of Nigeria’s majority tripod.
He added that while the group was not holding Buhari responsible for the equity shortfall, given the fact that he does not control the affairs of the National Assembly, it was of the view that during this time, aptly named, “Next Level,” he could direct the leadership of the party to advise elected members of the National Assembly, to ensure that equity prevailed in the distribution of positions especially now, that the APC won the required votes in the South-east.
Ononuju argued that since the South West had the second highest office in the land – the Vice President, it would only be proper that the position of the Speaker be zoned to the South-east.
He said: “Otherwise, it will be gross exclusion and highest level of insensitivity, condemnable, unconscionable and totally unacceptable.
“The Southeast Equity Alliance is opposed to injustice and greed with much vehemence and views anyone moving in that direction as enemy of a united and equitable Nigeria.
“If that should happen, it means that Nigeria belongs to certain ethnic groups, while the rest of the people are their political subjects and this will not augur well for national cohesion.”
The group insisted that 2019, the South-east region must be present at the Nigerian pinnacle of power.
To this end, it called on all the governors, elected members of the National Assembly from the South–east zone, and other major stakeholders from the area, to come together, pool resources, so as to give this effort, the necessary impetus.
Ononuju stated: “At this point, we are asking, is Southeast part of Nigeria? That pertinent question must be answered this time, with the emergence of Speaker of the House of Representatives from the South-east geopolitical zone.”
The group stressed that the zone had competent and qualified members of the House of Representatives with excellent track record in public administration and grounded in the nitty- gritty of lawmaking.
The group said it had reached out to other Nigerians, because no one should be under the illusion that power and plum positions could be obtained through patronage or on a platter, it without deliberate push and effort. It noted that with the position of the Speaker going to the South-east, it would enhance peace and help contain all forms of restiveness in the region.