9th National Assembly: Group berates APC zoning formula, insists South East should produce DSP, Speaker

9th National Assembly: Group berates APC zoning formula, insists South East should produce DSP, Speaker

Ahead of the inauguration of the ninth National Assembly, a group, Justice for Peace Advocacy of Nigeria, (JUPAN), has reiterated its support for South East geopolitical zone to occupy positions of the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives and Deputy Senate President.

The National President of JUPAN, Hon. Austin Okezie, flanked by members of the National Executive Committee(NEC) of the body, spoke with newsmen in a press conference on Thursday, in Owerri, the Imo state capital, opined that the South East remained the best bet when considering the two political offices.

9th National Assembly: Group berates APC zoning formula, insists South East should produce DSP, Speaker

The group stressed the need for the All Progressives Congress(APC) and the newly elected members of the National Assembly to consider the South East while electing its leadership.

It said, “It is the right thing to do by making sure that South East is considered for both the speakership and the deputy senate presidency” 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”.

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The group also harped on the need 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.”

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It added, “We align ourselves with the opinion that the majority party being APC, should provide the leadership of the National Assembly. That of course, is in consonance with the dictates of democracy. And looking at the configuration, you will notice that within the South East, it is only Abia State that has both ranking Senator-elect and House Member-elect from APC, in the persons of HE. Chief Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejiocha respectively. And when you consider the pedigrees of these two people, you will understand that it is actually divine.

“Of course, Chief Dr. Uzor Kalu, was an elected member in the National Assembly, specifically, the House of Representatives in 1992/93. He made a name for himself as the
brain behind the famous Dual Citizenship Bill. So, he is a ranking member. Kalu, having been the executive governor of Abia State for eight (8) years, his leadership capability cannot be in doubt. You can see for yourself that the Senate will be in good hands if Orji Uzor Kalu is elected the Deputy Senate President”.

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JUPAN continued, ” Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejiocha does not need an introduction in the National Assembly. She has been a strong voice in the Federal House for so many years, with so many bills to her credit, which have added meaningfully to the progress of the country. Presently, the Chairman House Committee on Aviation, Hon Onyejiocha will be a fourth term lawmaker in the 9th Assembly, a no small fit by every standard. Historically, she has been an LGA Chairman and a Commissioner in Abia state, with sound leadership attributes. With her as Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives, the nation is sure to reap bountifully from a robust legislature that can take the country to greater heights”.

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