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Southeast Youths under the umbrella of the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) rejected the position of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives zoned to the South East by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and insisted that the Senate President position should be zoned to the zone for equity, fairness, and justice.
The group made this known through the COSEYL President General, Goodluck Ibem, and Secretary, Okey Nwaoru, while addressing newsmen in Owerri on Tuesday.
They described the zoning arrangement of the APC, of the Deputy speaker position as exclusionary and an embarrassment to the South East region.
‘It has come to the notice and knowledge of Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, the apex socio -political youth group in the South East, that a phony, little-known group by the name ‘Center for Excellence and Performance in Governance (CEPG) is parading itself as a watchdog and avant-garde of the crusade to make the Igbo settle for less in the so-called zoning of the APC National Assembly principal positions.
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‘This was evident in a release, where they argued, among other things, that having moved a specific number of motions and sponsorship. Ben Kalu, who was proposed as the Deputy Speaker, should be considered as a reward due to the South East in terms of the zoning of political offices. We ask CEPG which of the bills Benjamin Kalu personally sponsored, have been signed into law, and how many if any, have improved the lot of the Igbo race or the South East?’ the group asked.
They described the situation as huge embarrassment to Igbo sons like the great Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, who fought so hard with his NPP to relaunch the Igbo into the political orbit of the Nigerian state after the war.
They also submitted that Dr. Sam Mbakwe, who fought the ‘abandoned property saga’ through pro bono service; even Dr. Michael Okpara, the premier of what used to be Eastern region, and Dr. Akanụ Ibiam, the former governor of the old Eastern Region.
‘All these men fought to reposition the Igbo before, during, and after the war, yet a faceless group, just because of ‘a mess of pottage’ and crumbs, will leave the bigger picture to chase narrow blurry vision means a slap in their faces.
“Of what significance is the post of the Deputy Speaker to one of the most populous ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, whose contribution to the nation’s independence, liberation, and even emergence is not in doubt? We call on all well-meaning Igbo to join their voice in the campaign for the leadership of the Tenth Assembly.
“We move that the position of the Senate President be zoned to South East and we urge all senators to support us to achieve this ambition at the tenth assembly; it is not beyond the Igbo, and it is not too much to ask for because as a region the South East has continued to get little after giving much, especially in the APC scheme even though people like Senator Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, and others had a stake in the APC from inception.
‘In 2019, the APC denied South East the position of the Senate President and Deputy Senate President, under the premise that their is no APC Governor in the South East. Now that the South East has two APC Governors, which are Imo and Ebonyi States and South-South has only one which is Cross River State, which excuse do they have again to insult us with the position of a Deputy Speaker? they queried,’ the group stated.