The race for the position of Senate President of the impending 10th National Assembly on Sunday took another dimension as Senators-elect from the South-East raised the alarm over alleged plot to scheme the region out of the federal legislature’s leadership offices.
Arising from a meeting of the Senate South-East caucus in Abuja, eleven out of the fifteen Senators-elect from South-East, rejected the alleged endorsement of Senator Godswill Akpabio for the Senate’s coveted office and cautioned the President-elect, Bola Tinubu against “injustice” to South-East.
The Senators-elect called on the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee (NWC) to zone the Senate Presidency of the 10th Assembly to the South-East, while urging Tinubu to also ensure that the Senate Presidency position was zoned to the East.
A communique issued by the Senators and read out to journalists by Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP-Anambra), said the meeting held at his Maitama residence vehemently kicked against what it termed “injustice” and “marginalisation” of the South-East geopolitical zone by the ruling party.
They posited that since the zone was tactically denied the presidential ticket of any of the two major political parties in the 2023 general election, the position of the Senate Presidency was supposed to have been given it in the interest of justice and fairness.
The communique reads: “We have observed with dismay the antics of persons with vested selfish Interests who have planted themselves around the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and have vowed to shut out the South East from the Senate Presidency of the 10th Senate.
“Beyond ethnic and religious considerations, in the forthcoming 10th Senate, the Southeast has been blessed with ranking Senators-elect Including members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) who have the cranial capacity, competence, influence, experience and Political followership to pilot the affairs of the Red Chamber, it becomes imperative that the All Progressives Congress upholds the Principle of natural Justice and equity which it preaches founded on reasons and zone the seat of Senate President to the South East region.
“That the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu should extend the same democratic opportunity he received from the outgoing administration which gave all aspirants equal an opportunity to exercise their fundamental and constitutional rights during the APC Presidential Primaries. He should be conscious of the grave implications of zoning and endorsing a candidate from the South-South without any
regard for the Southeast, such move will no doubt serve as a recipe for Injustice which will culminate to restiveness.
“We implore the President-elect to besensitive to the times in Nigeria and ensurethe country continues to thrive on the partyof equity, unity and fairness to the tripod ofNigeria (Hausa Igbo Yoruba) and the geopolitical zones.
“The country is already divided along ethnic and religious lines due to the exclusion of the Southeast region, which formed the major reason the APC received the low number of votes from the Southeast. The incoming Administration of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu must correct this anomaly by ensuring that the Southeast is given the opportunity to produce the next Senate President.
“With the side-lining of the Southeast from producing the Presidential candidates of the major political parties before the general elections, the only means through which the zone can be compensated and given a sense of belonging is for the zone to produce the next Senate President as this will restore the confidence of the people from the South-east and South-south geo-political zones and indeed all Nigerians in the unity of the country.
“The APC must rise above primordial and
political interest and shun the winner-takes-all syndrome and pursue ethnoreligious inclusivity and a strong, virile, united, progressive, prosperous, equitable and just democratic nation.
“Mr President-elect, how would an average
Igbo man feel after he sees evidence of total discrimination? The South-East has been denied the chance of producing the president of Nigeria since 1966. The South South has produced President for six years and also had Deputy Senate President In the outgoing administration. The only zone in the South that has not been favoured is the South East.
“The outcry of marginalization by the South-East and the entire Igbo should be addressed by your incoming administration rather than aggravating it. The South West has President, the North East has Vice President. It is only just that the least position at the moment that can assuage the South East is given the chance to be the President of the 10th Senate.
“On this note we have collectively resolved to support South East aspirants of the APC. We remain committed and have since expanded negotiations with other well-meaning Senators-elect to rally round the South East to ensure that justice, fairness and unity of the country prevails”.
METROWATCHXTRA.COM reports that Senators present at the meeting include Ifeanyi Ubah who read the communique, Orji Uzor Kalu, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Victor Umeh and Osita Izunaso. Others were Ezenwa Oyewuchi, Tony Nwoye, PC Ndubueze, Okey Ezea, Kelvin Chukwu and Osita Ngwu.
The senators who did not endorse the communique are all the elected senators from Ebonyi State and Darlington Nwokacha, (LP-Abia). Earlier, the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi announced withdrawal from the Senate Presidency race and backed the candidacy of the APC-endorsed Akpabio.