The South East APC Young Progressive Forum, a coalition of youth groups of the All Progressives Congress APC, in the South East Geopolitical zone, has vowed to resist zoning of the Speakership of the House of Representatives in the 9th National Assembly to the South West or any other zone.
Addressing newsmen in Awka, the Anambra State capital on Monday at the Oasis Garden, Awka, the Convener, APC Young Progressive Forum Comrade Paschal Otimkpu, said though the party had yet to officially announce the zoning to the South West, it should not do so to avoid opposition to the party’s candidate like in 2015.
Comrade Paschal said: “If the party goes ahead to zone the position of the Speaker to the South West or another zone because it wants to foist a particular candidate on lawmakers, disregarding popular support and equitable zoning formula, it will thereby be shortchanging the South East of its hard-earned right which will be resisted by this group and all members of APC in the South East.”
The group maintained that political offices should be shared among geographical zones and people from different religious backgrounds. Since Mr President is from the North and a Muslim and APC have adopted Senator from North East who is also a Muslim. The Group believed that the Speaker should come from South East and a Christian for that matter.
According to him: “One would expect that since the Senate Presidency was zoned to the North East being the zone that contributed the highest number of votes after the North West, the speakership position will naturally go to the next in line, the South East zone, which is the most improved zone by comparative performance of 2015 and 2019 elections.
“So, why is the party suddenly shifting the goal post when it comes to zoning the Speakership position by considering the South West that performed woefully in 2019 election. This is so because of the number of senior ministers, infrastructural development that Mr President cited in South West and even already has the number two position of a Vice President, yet the votes APC got from South West reduced drastically to compare with 2015 election? ls this an equitable thing to do?” where is the justice which APC is known for.”
Hon. Otimkpu maintained that “South West cannot take Vice President, holds 4 to 5 Senior Ministerial positions in this government and be expecting to get the Speakership and a Muslim at the same. How do we balance this in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious State?” the group queried.
He added that they are loyal party members who have invested so much time and resources in marketing APC in South East.
“We do not want a new APC Government in which three arms of Government will be led by people from the same religious background. We want an inclusive government where every tribe and religion will be accommodated which is in line with the stand of Mr President and APC constitution.”
The Group believed that within APC rank, South East has ranking members from the zone who has held different positions in the National Assembly and have performed creditably well. We acknowledged the qualities of others from different zones seeking the same office, but equity and justice for the South East zone.
The Group said they intend to meet with the leadership of APC at the national level, South East APC leadership, all elected House of Representatives members from the zone and Ministers from the zone to make their stand known.
They also urged their leaders to speak out against this injustice on South East people by some few cabals in the presidency.