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9th Senate Presidency: Buhari And Apc

By Monday Eze, Senior Correspondent, The Nigerian Voice, Abakaliki

The current zoning arrangement of principal positions of the National Assembly by the ruling All Progressive Congress has totally ignored the southeast (Ndigbo) of Nigeria. This has elicited concerns from the President-general of the apex Igbo socio-cultural group - Ohaneze Ndigbo - Chief Nnia Nwodo; the President of Igbo Development Union, Chief Emmanuel Igwe and leaders of other Igbo and non-Igbo associations. The concern is so rife that one can read it on the sealed lips of many other patriotic Nigerians who marvel at such affront on the fragile unity of Nigeria. Conscientious people cannot fault these concerns given the total neglect and marginalization suffered by Ndigbo since 29th May 2015 when PMB's administration was inaugurated. Records show PMB's flagrant contravention of section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) in his appointments and so on. PMB's plea that he appoints people he could trust gave him out as a president with premeditated intent to flout the provisions of the very constitution he swore to defend or protect! Studies of the conducts of some of the so-called "trusted" appointees of PMB in public offices like the former SGF, Engr. Babachir Lawal; the former DSS boss, Lawal Daura; et cetera show that they are no special people. Rather, they are corrupt, lawless and selfish people who placed their private interests above the corporate existence of Nigeria.

Chief Nnia Nwodo - President General Of Ohaneze Ndigbo

So far, the PMB-led All Progressive Congress administration is the most parochial administration in the history of Nigeria and this character of the administration which is responsible for PMB's lopsided appointments into the country's security apparatchiks and APC's exclusive zoning arrangement of principal offices of the National Assembly has become the most potent fodder for separatist agitations in Nigeria. Nigeria's corporate existence, according to the preamble and section 14(2)(b) and (c) of the 1999 CFRN (as amended), is founded on social justice. When the composition of an administration is laced with tribalism as we have it in the present administration; and exclusive zoning arrangements such as the one being bandied by APC for the 9th National Assembly is in place, social justice is displaced, threatened and cannot be guaranteed. This is true because social justice implies practical and unfettered participatory inclusiveness! When social justice cannot be guaranteed, it gives room for separatist agitations and as such conscientious elders may not find reasons to blame people for the staccato of voices calling for a review of the corporate existence of Nigeria as a nation through referendum!

Dr. Orji Uzor - Senator-Elect [/COLOR
The attempt of President Buhari and his All Progressive Congress to justify the exclusion of the southeast from meaningful agencies and projects of the federal government on the excuse that people who did not vote for them should not expect government patronage smacks of unpatriotism. The requirement of balance or fairness in the composition of government and its agencies otherwise known as Federal character as stated in section 14(3) of the extant Nigerian constitution is a mandatory and unconditional constitutional requirement which has nothing to do with voting pattern. The framers of our constitution put it that way because they realized that the winner of the presidential election will become the president of the entire country including those who did not vote for him/her and the persons who contested the presidency against the incubent. In the same vein, citizens are bound to be loyal to (and to support) the president irrespective of whether they voted for him/her or not. The federal character provision which was present in the 1979 constitution was observed in an exemplary manner by President Shehu Shagari of blessed memory during his administration which lasted between 1979 and 1983. Even though Shagari did not get up to 10% of the total votes cast in the East which for obvious reasons was dorminated by members of the now defunct Nigeria Peoples Party, NPP, Shagari and his defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN, zoned the speaker of the lower chamber of the National Assembly to the East. That was how Rt. Hon. Edwin Ume-ezeoke, a member of NPP which was different from the party of the president as at that time, became the speaker of the House of Representatives. President Shagari, a patriot in all ramifications, was equally liberal in the siting of federal government projects such that we still have Shagari estates - the label of the administration's housing projects, and other projects in the Eastern and other parts of the country like Western Nigeria which did not vote for Shagari! In the 23rd February 2019 presidential election, President Buhari and his APC got more than the constitutionally required 25% of the total votes cast in majority of the states in the Southeast. All Progressive Congress equally produced two cool-headed ranking senators in the persons of Senators Orji Uzor Kalu and Benjamin Uwajimogu from Abia and Imo States respectively.

Chief Emmanuel Igwe (Ohamadike) President Of Igbo Development Union

This was a quantum leap when compared to the votes PMB and his APC got from the area in the 2015 presidential election. With this and PMB's earlier promise that the Senate President will come from the Southeast, PMB and APC have no justification in ignoring Ndigbo of the Southeast in the zoning of the principal offices of the National Assembly, especially the Senate presidency. By this unpatriotic political move of PMB and the All Progressive Congress, they have put up the leadership of the APC in the Southeast for umbrage; and given more impetus to agitations for renegotiation of Nigeria's unity or corporate existence as one nation. I pray that President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR and the leadership of All Progressive Congress realize fast that the corporate existence or national unity of Nigeria is premised only upon the guarantee of social justice; and that Nigeria's and indeed any country's corporate existence is better guaranteed or secured by social justice than military hardware. I pray also that the APC administration realizes the danger of its current hypocritical approach to national unity, rescinds the hypocrisy and begins to infuse balance and inclusiveness into the administration as required by the extant Nigerian constitution. This, if properly done, will rekindle the hope of many in a united Nigeria; quell separatist agitations faster and more effectively than the barrels of guns could ever do and place President Buhari and the All Progressive Congress in prime positions in the anals of our country.

May God bless Nigeria.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Monday Eze, Senior Correspondent, The Nigerian Voice, Abakaliki and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."