Okey Sampson, Aba
Barely 24 hours to the inauguration of the Ninth National Assembly, a chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State, Chief Jonathan Ogwo Okpara is canvassing support for the former governor of Abia and senator-elect for Abia North, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu for the position of deputy Senate president.
Speaking in Aba, Okpara said the position of deputy Senate president would not be what the Igbo should beg for in a country, where they are one of the three major ethnic groups.
Okpara said what Kalu should have gunned for is the Senate president position itself, which he squarely merited, but since the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has zoned it to the North East and President Muhammadu Buhari endorsed Ahmad Lawan, the deputy Senate president position should not elude the Igbo.
The APGA chieftain noted that as a former member of the House of Representatives, who was in the House when no member of the present crop of senators were anywhere near the National Assembly, and a two term governor of Abia State, Kalu was eminently qualified for the office of the deputy Senate president.
“In 1991, Kalu was already a member of the House of Representatives, when time none of the present crop of senators that will be inaugurated tomorrow was in the National Assembly.”
Okpara stated that irrespective of any present political arrangement, the political basement of the country had for ages been known to rest on a tripod stand; Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba.
He said for fairness, equity and justice, which invariably is the motto of Nigeria, the position of the deputy Senate president should be zoned to the Igbo nation irrespective of whether they voted for the ruling party en masse or not.
The APGA chieftain said fairness and justice demand that the Igbo should be given the deputy Senate president position, since the North produced the president, South West, the vice president and even the South South zone produced the national chairman of the ruling party.
He said denying Igbo the position would amount to a situation where brothers are sharing things, when others have gotten and it gets to the turn of a particular brother, others would want to deny him his share , but would instead want what was remaining to be giving to those that had already received.
“It is wrong to say Igbo would not be given its due share in a country where it is a major player in her affairs because it did not vote en masse for APC.
“It is on record that in 1979, the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) gave the Igbo the slot of vice president, but, the zone voted en masse for Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP). The zone was still given that slot in 1983, NPN did not say because the South East did not vote for it, therefore, the zone would not get what was due it, that is how politics should be played.”
Okpara said as a detribalized Nigerian, Kalu would carry every zone along if he becomes the deputy senate president. rocking the Abia State chapter of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) escalated at the weekend, when suspected thugs invaded the party’s secretariat in Umuahia and held the secretary hostage for several hours.