Senators from the South East, on Sunday, passed a resolution rejecting the purported zoning of the office of Senate President to the South South, and warned Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee (NWC) to avoid any form of injustice on the matter.
In a communiqué issued after several hours of meeting held at the Maitama residence of Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP, Anambra South), they alleged that the Tinubu administration had begun to work towards marginalising their zone, noting that since it was tactically denied presidential ticket by the two major political parties in the February 2023 election, the Senate leadership ought to have been conceded to the zone in the interest of justice and fairness.
Part of the communiqué read: “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 South East has been blessed with ranking senators-elect, including members of the All Progressives Congress (APC). They 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 reason, 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 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 South East. Such move will, no doubt, serve as a recipe for injustice, which will culminate in restiveness. We implore the president-elect to be sensitive to the times in Nigeria and ensure the country continues to thrive on the party of equity, unity and fairness to the tripod of Nigeria (Hausa Igbo Yoruba) and the geopolitical zones.
“The country is already divided amongst ethnic and religious lines due to the exclusion of the South East region, which formed the major reason the APC received the amount of votes (it got) from the South East. The incoming administration of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu must correct this anomaly by ensuring that the South East is given the opportunity to produce the next Senate President. With the sidelining of the South East from producing the presidential candidates of the major political parties before the general election, 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. This will restore confidence of the people from the South East and South South geopolitical 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 ethno-religious 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 marginalisation 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.”
Apart from Ubah, who read the communiqué, others present at the meeting were Senators Orji Uzor Kalu, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Victor Umeh, Osita Izunaso, Ezenwa Oyewuchi, Tony Nwoye, PC Ndubueze, Okey Ezea, Kelvin Chukwu, and Osita Ngwu.