Since the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2015, many political observers are of the view that the South East geo-political zone has not fared well in terms of political patronage.
They easily cite the fact that no one from the zone has occupied a prominent position in the security architecture of the country.
Even in political appointments, the zone only occupies ministerial positions, which every state in the zone is entitled based on constitutional requirements for such appointments.
This lopsidedness in appointments is often rationalized on the low number of votes from the zone in the 2015 presidential election.
But the recently held February 23, National Assembly polls seems to have witnessed a remarkable improvement from the position the ruling party was in 2015, going by the number of votes garnered by Buhari and APC. Whilst it had no senator then, today it boasts of two and several House of Representatives members.
As the nation marches to a new dispensation May 29, 2019, heralding the second four years of the Buhari administration, there is the need to make the Southeast have a sense of belonging in the political architecture of the country.
We urge the powers-that-be in the country, and the ruling party to consider seriously zoning the senate presidency to the southeast.
In the present political power structure in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari is from the North West, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (South West), while the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, is from the North-Central zone. The North East has the Speaker in the person of Hon. Yakubu Dogara.
The Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is from the South South, thus leaving the South East with virtually nothing.
Similarly, in the nation’s security architecture, the National Security Adviser, Major Gen. Babagana Monguno is from the North East, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin (South West), the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (North East), the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Abubakar Sadique (North East), the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas (South South), while the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu is from the North Central.
In the same vein, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali, is from the North East, the Comptroller-General of Prisons, Alhaji Ja’afaru Ahmed (North West), and the Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede is from the North West.
The South East is apparently the only geo-political without noticeable presence in the APC political power configuration. Now that President Muhammadu Buhari has been re-elected, the North West will have the presidency for eight years while the South West will also have the Vice Presidency for eight years.
From 1999 till date, the South West has had the presidency for eight years under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the North East has had the Vice Presidency under former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for eight years.
With the presidency of the late Umaru Yar’Adua, the position was held by the North West for three years until the demise of Yar’Adua. The South South under President Goodluck Jonathan held the position for about five years after being the Vice President to Yar’Adua.
The South East is nowhere in these power configurations. The Senate Presidency that was zoned to the South East during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration was so turbulent that it rotated among the five states in the zone not necessarily because the South East people wanted it to be so.
In view of the glaring absence of the South East zone from the power structure of Nigeria, we call on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and the APC leadership to commence the redressing of this lopsidedness in political appointments and abject neglect of the South East zone, by zoning the Senate Presidency for the forthcoming 9th Senate to the South East geo-political zone.
We also want to remind President Buhari that he should remember the zone in appointment of security chiefs and others, when vacancy exists in those positions.