Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the five southeastern states on the platform of the South-east Equity Alliance have asked the party to cede the seat of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to the zone in the spirit of equity and fairness.
Curiously, however, the group said they have met with the National Chairman and presented the name of an Accord Party Member Elect, Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba as their candidate for the speaker.
Addressing a news conference after a closed-door meeting with the National Chairman on APC Friday in Abuja, spokesman of the group Barrister Kingsley Ononuju, said the south-east “have competent and qualified honourable members of the House of Representatives with excellent track record in public administration and grounded in the nitty-gritty of lawmaking.
“Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba, a detribalized Nigerian, is one of them. He is a man of integrity, with effective political structure both in the north and south. A proficient team player, humble and dedicated.
“Hon. Nwajiuba, is also eminently qualified and favourably disposed to rendering service, unifying and building a better Nigeria by working harmoniously with the executive. His goal is to give real meaning to governance, through dynamic legislative service.
“He has emerged and we have to support him. The entire southeast including the caucus in the House of Representatives, should rally round and make sure that he succeeds. No one, should be under the illusion that power and plum positions can be obtained through patronage or on a platter. There must be a push and effort.
“Thank goodness, some prominent Nigerians and groups like the political strategist, Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, of Kaduna State and the formidable Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), have joined the fray in support of the southeast but that is not enough.
“We, as the conscience of Southeast, have to make an impact so that other Nigerians and interested parties, will know that we mean business and not ready to give up.
When this is done, we believe that they will take us seriously and our goal will be achieved.
“This crucial moment, calls for concerted action, unity of purpose and oneness. Certainly, with the Speaker of the House of Representatives going to the southeast, it will enhance peace and help contain all forms of restiveness in the region.”
The group expressed concern over what they described as the exclusion of South-east in the first tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying “last time the Southeast headed any organ of government, was during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and that brought stability in governance, peace and progress, especially with the sterling performance of the likes of c Ken Nnamani, c etc.
In 2019, we must be present at the Nigerian pinnacle of power. For this reason, we call on all the governors, elected members of the National Assembly from the southeast zone, and other major stakeholders from the area, to come together, pool resources, so as to give this effort, the necessary impetus.
“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 southeast geopolitical zone.”