APC chieftain challenges Tinubu, party to shift Senate presidency to Southeast

209

Jackson Lekan-Ojo, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has urged President-Elect Bola Tinubu and the party’s leadership to reverse the decision to zone the Senate Presidency to the South-South, calling the move a gross injustice against the people of the Southeast, who he claims have more qualified people in the Senate.

In an interview with Newsmen, Lekan-Ojo stated that the entire zoning arrangement of the leadership of the 10th National Assembly was a coup against democracy.

His words: “They zoned the office of Deputy Senate President to the North West and still zoned the speakership position to the North West, nothing for the Southeast, nothing for the North Central. Are we saying that the Southeast is not part of this country again? Technically, I think we are showing the way out of this country to the people of the Southeast because these people have been denied, neglected and rejected for a long time.

“We have someone like Orji Uzor Kalu, who was a governor for eight years at the same time Tinubu was the governor of Lagos.

We have Osita Izunaso who has been a member of the House of Representatives and member of the Senate. These are high ranking and highly qualified members of the National Assembly. That goes to show that the Southeast has, among the ranking officers, at least two highly qualified persons to become the Senate President.

“In a situation where the North West is given two principal officers, they managed to zone the deputy speakership position to them. This is condemnable. I, as a major political stakeholder in this country, I have never heard the name of Tajudeen Abass before. This is a person that has never moved a motion in the House of Representatives but just because people like Gbajabiamila and others are looking for a ‘yes-member’ and a very soft rubber stamp speaker, they went ahead to pick someone who will just be there as a pseudo-speaker.”

The Port Harcourt-based politician called on the president-elect and the party to reverse the decision, saying, “If we are to go by equity, everybody in Nigeria should have been thinking of Southeast as far as the zoning of the Senate Presidency is concerned. I strongly believe when it comes to equity and competence the Southeast deserves the Senate Presidency. Or better still, the position should been thrown open to everyone who is qualified to contest the position. The APC and the president-elect should reverse their decision. They should allow the National Assembly members to pick one of their best. Otherwise, Nigerians should know that the principle of checks and balances would be buried and eroded under the incoming administration.

If you want to talk about Akpabio, he was a governor of Akwa Ibom State but he failed woefully when he was appointed a Minister of Niger Delta and was overseeing the NDDC in charge of nine states. That goes to show that Akpabio does not have the capacity to go beyond governing a state. But that is the person they chose to give the Senate Presidency. If meritocracy should be considered, someone like Orji Uzor Kalu is far better and more qualified than Akpabio.”

He, therefore, called on the leadership of the ruling party to retrace its steps and re-zone the Senate Presidency to the Southeast, noting that,  “at the end of the day it is not going to affect the politicians alone. The effects of this grave injustice will be felt across the entire socio-political and economy strata of the country.