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SPEAKER: HOUSE CAUCUS, OTHERS INSIST ON SOUTH EAST

By NBF News
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Political leaders from the South-east geo-political zone, including its caucus in the House of Representatives yesterday spoke in support of the clamour to produce the Senate president or the speaker of the House of Representatives.

The two top political positions are presently held by the North-central and South-west zones.

Those who spoke include a former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, leader of Obigbo, a socio-cultural group, Chief Charles Ahize, former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, a former governorship candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Imo State, Chief Ziggy Azike, and an aspirant for the chairmanship seat of PDP, Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu.

Ezeife said it was inconceivable for the PDP to exclude the zone in the present sharing formulae.

He said, if for any reason the South-east cannot get the Senate president, the speaker of the House of Representatives should naturally be theirs in addition with another good position.

'There are five principal officers who rule the country politically. They are the president, vice president, Senate president, speaker and the national chairman of the party. Any group that is outside these, is outside the government. The South-west has nobody to become the speaker or Senate president. So automatically, it ought to go to the South-east,' he said, adding 'we don't want any conflict with the president and we don't want the enemies of Ndigbo to succeed in poisoning the relationship between the president and Ndigbo.We expect him to be fair.'

Ahize alleged a grand conspiracy against the South-east. 'I'm surprised that this grand conspiracy against the South-east, that I grew in is still on. They created the South-south to guard South-east. It is only South-east that has five states. Others have six and seven states.

'They deliberately used the South-south to block our access to the external world. This one is a calculated game plan to short change the zone.'

Lamenting the situations further, he observed that all the major political parties with roots in the South-east including the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) pledged allegiance to and supported President Goodluck Jonathan's presidential aspiration.

'The people also voted enbloc for him. Now, this is how to pay back. It's a big pity. It's a shame. I'm just imagining what I'll tell my children. They said no victor, no vanquished after the civil war.'

Azike expressed his lack of confidence in President Jonathan as he lambasted Ndigbo for their political naivety.

'I never had confidence in Jonathan. We're so naïve as a people. He came for our support and we gave it unconditionally.

'We forgot that he removed two Igbo men from important positions and started celebrating the Chief of Army Staff he gave us. The Inspector-General of Police and Chief of Defence Staff were Igbomen.

'He removed them and gave us Chief of Army Staff (COAS). COAS is inferior to Chief of Defence Staff. He took the chairman of the party from us since January.'

Izuogu, however, called for balance for the sake of equity and justice. 'That is why you cannot delete zoning from our political dictionary. The chairman of the party should be restored to the zone.'

The South-east caucus in the House of Representatives in an advertorial said, it would be gratuitous insult to offer the South-east any position less than speaker of the House of Representatives or the president of the Senate.

In the advertorial signed by 42 of them, the lawmakers said t he zone has given so much support to the PDP since 1999.

'The result of the just-concluded general election show that the PDP in the South-East received over 85 percent support in the National Assembly election and about 97 percent in the presidential election. The total votes of 5.1 million represent almost a quarter of the total valid votes received by President Jonathan. It is therefore incomprehensible that over 85 percent votes for the PDP in the National Assembly will be sacrificed for any reason whatsoever.'