…appeal to APC to zone Senate Presidency to South South for equity
Ndifreke Jacob, Uyo.
The Coalition of South-South Community for United Nigeria, Justice, and Equity has thrown its weight behind Senator Godswill Akpabio as the best foot forward in the Senate Presidency race.
The socio-political organization chaired by Hon. Eseme Eyiboh expressed the group’s support for Sen. Godswill Akpabio as a highly qualified candidate for the position during a press conference held in Uyo on Monday, 17th April.
Stressing the need for equity, justice, and fairness in the allocation of leadership positions in the 10th Assembly, Hon. Eseme pointed out that the South-South region, which is a significant contributor to Nigeria’s oil wealth, has not been adequately represented in the past and yet to produce a Senate President.
Drawing attention to the historical model followed since 1999, where the region that produces the President also produces the Senate President and Speaker, Mr. Eyiboh highlighted that the South-South region has been overlooked in this regard, unlike the South-East region, which has had five uninterrupted Senate Presidencies.
He said, ”The reasons are very clear. Since 1999, the position of the Senate President has always been occupied by one region.
”South East has had uninterrupted Senate Presidency five times.
”His Excellency Adolphos Wagbara from Abia State, Evans Enwerem from Imo State, Chuba Okadigbo from Anambra State, Pius Anyim from Ebonyi State, and Ken Nnamani from Enugu State.
”The position has been distributed to five southeastern states; so, now the senate president coming to the South cannot go to the South West because the president of the federal republic of Nigeria is from the South West. The natural place, if we mean zoning, should go to is the South-South.”
Mr. Eyiboh called for the support of all well-meaning Nigerians to endorse Sen. Akpabio as a capable candidate for the position of Senate President.
He emphasized the need for strong institutions and sustainable development goals in Nigeria, and highlighted Sen. Akpabio’s qualifications, including his past roles as former governor of Akwa Ibom, a former senate minority leader, and the immediate past Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs as great credentials.
The chairman of the coalition called on the All Progressives Congress (APC), President-elect Bola Tinubu, and senators-elect to seriously consider zoning the position of Senate President to the South-South region in the interest of equity, justice, and fairness.
“We are united by this demand, appeal, and request to the APC, president-elect, Sen. Bola Tinubu, the Vice President-elect, and Senators-elect that the position of Senate President should be zoned to the South-South.
“It is a request to the APC, the President-elect, Asiwaju Tinubu, and all the well-meaning Nigerians that the Senate Presidency should be zoned to the South-South,” he added.
He urged them to prioritize the development of the country by ensuring that capable leaders are appointed to key positions, leaders who can galvanize the executive and legislature for the betterment of the nation.
Reiterating the importance of strong institutions and sustainable development goals in Nigeria, and the need for fair representation of all regions in the country’s leadership positions, Eyiboh maintained “what an average Nigeria is looking, for now, is strong institutions not strong individuals, sustainable development goals and we need somebody who has the pedigree and capacity to actualize that for a united Nigeria. That person is here in the South-South.
“We are presenting Sen. Godswill Akpabio, for this position; without a doubt, we seek the support of all,” the group said.
However, he called for unity and cooperation among all stakeholders to promote a just and equitable Nigeria, where every region is given equal opportunities to contribute to the nation’s progress.