By NBF News

The South-east zone of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday decried what it called mistreatment and neglect of the zone by national leadership of the party, demanding that the position of Senate Minority Leader be given to it.

Consequently, it has mandated Senator Chris Ngige to contest the position, expressing its implicit confidence in his ability to efficiently and effectively steer the minority opposition agenda in the Senate. Arising from the party's South-east caucus meeting in Awka, presided over by the National Vice/Zonal Chairman, Dr. Chudi Nwike, the zone, in a five-point communiqué agreed upon by members, affirmed the earlier resolution of the ACN National Working Committee (NWC) that, 'All matters or disputes in the South-east must be first handled by the zone before being pushed to national level.'

The caucus meeting, which was attended by all the ACN National and State Assemblies members, state officials and stalwarts of the party from the five eastern states of the South-east also ratified the working committee's nominations from constituent states for the Zonal Working Committee (ZWC). Signed by Dr. Nwike, the communiqué reads in parts: 'The zone decries the mistreatment and neglect of the zone on national issues by national leadership and national officers as per the zonal chairman being sidelined on important national committees.

'Further, we mandate our only Senator, Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige, OON, to contest the position of Senate Minority Leader of the 7th Senate of NASS as we have clearly identified four minority principal officer positions (two in the House of Representatives and two in the Senate) for our party and we, by all measure, deserve at least one. Moreover, we have implicit confidence in his ability to steer the minority opposition agenda in the Senate efficiently and effectively.

'The Senate leadership is hereby requested to waive the new Senate rules 3b on ranking, as he is the only Senator from the former eastern region of Nigeria encompassing present day South-east with five states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo and four states in the South-south of Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River and Akwa Ibom on the platform of our great party,the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). 'There had been enough precedents of waiver being granted to some zones especially the North-west and North-east to enable them forward their deserving senators like Senator Kabiru Gaya (Deputy Minority Leader), Senator Yerima Bukara (Deputy Whip) and Senator Mana (Whip) in the 6th Senate, 2007-2011.'

The ZWC members ratified are Dr. Nwike, Mrs. Ngozi Ogbuagu, zonal woman leader; Chief Ekwuaju, zonal organizing secretary, Deacon George Nwadike, zonal secretary, Mr. Chibueze Eze, zonal public relations officer and Mr. Cletus Ulor, zonal financial secretary.

Speaking to Daily Sun shortly after the meeting, the Imo State Chairman of the party and former member, Imo State House of Assembly, Mr Charles Uba said the demand of the zone was justifiable, adding that their candidate, Senator Ngige is a personality well known to Nigerians as one who could hold firmly the opposition. Uba said he was optimistic that ACN would honour the demand of the zone as it was a party that stood for equity, justice and fair play.