Christopher Isiguzo and Gideon Arinze in Enugu
Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South East yesterday rose from a closed-door meeting in Enugu, calling on the national leadership of the party to review the subsisting zoning of principal offices of the 9th National Assembly and adopt a more equitable manner that will give more deserving positions to the zone.
The leaders, however, failed to endorse lawmakers from the zone for any of the top positions in the 9th National Assembly, though they encouraged those interested in the National Assembly’s top jobs to continue to pursue their aspirations.
While the former Abia State Governor, Orji Kalu is seeking for the position of the Deputy President of the Senate, Hon. Chike Okafor from Imo State and Mrs. Nkiruka Onyejeocha from Abia State are positioning themselves for speaker of the House of Representatives.
Unfortunately, APC has not zoned any of the offices to the south east.
However, the party chieftains expressed dismay over the “undue interference and unwholesome meddlesomeness” by forces from outside the zone in the affairs of the southeast zone, aimed at causing confusion in the party in the zone, and warned those involved to discontinue same.
They asked those seeking National Assembly principal positions to be guided by the over-ridding need to preserve party cohesion, strengthen collective group interest and promote party discipline.
After the crucial meeting attended by notable party leaders including ministers, National Assembly members-elect, and other party stalwarts, the meeting urged the national leadership of the party “to draw strength from the need to utilise the zoning of principal offices in the 9th National Assembly to deepen and strengthen the electoral appeal of the party, especially in parts of the country where it may be considered as weak.”
A communiqué read by the National Vice Chairman of APC, South East Zone, Hon Emma Enuekwu, stated, “We call on the national leadership of our great party to revisit the subsisting zoning of principal offices in the 9th National Assembly in a more equitable manner that will accord more deserving positions to the southeast zone considering that the country rests on six geopolitical zones of South-East, South South, South West, North Central, North East and North West.
“At all times, it should be borne in mind that since democracy is a dynamic process, our great party should remain a truly national political party with broad based support in all parts of the country, the South East Zone inclusive”.
The caucus which congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari for his reelection in the 2019 general elections, went further to set up two committees, including; contact committee, chaired by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu; and Reconciliation Committee chaired by Mr. Emeka Wogu (Esq).
The contact committee which has other members as the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; a retired DIG Azubuike Uda; Sen Chris Nwankwo; Mrs. Ugo Okoye and Hon. Austin Chukwukere; was charged with the responsibility of reaching out to the Presidency and leaders of the party across the county to lobby for a favourable zoning to the Southeast.
The reconciliation committee which has Mr. Sunny Onyeukwu as secretary, and 10 other members was charged with investigating the poor performance of the party in the zone during the last election and reconcile all aggrieved members as well as look out for the party’s areas of strength and weaknesses ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Before the meeting took off yesterday, the leader of South East caucus of the party, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu called non party members to work together in order to overcome its challenges in the zone.
Kalu said some leaders of the party in the zone sabotaged the party in the last general elections by entering into agreement with sittng governors in the zone who deceitfully promised to allocate 25 percent of votes to the president.
Kalu said that the party could have performed better, and possibly could have won two or three states in the zone without such agreement which made the Presidency and the party not to channel enough logistics support to them.
He therefore called for the setting up of a committee to investigate the sabotage and unholy alliance that weakened the party’s strength during the polls.
Other party chieftains that attended the meeting include; Dr. Chris Ngige; two members elect: Hon. Chike Okafor and Hon. Nkiruka Onyejeocha.
Others are Sen. Chris Adighije, Sen. Chris Nwankwo, former Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Emeka Wogu, Director General of Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, and state party chairmen in the zone.