South East Senators Protest, Demand Additional Ministers

•Say allocating five slots to Igbo, unfair, unconstitutional 

• Deputy speaker too 

•Akpabio pledges to discuss with Tinubu

Adedayo Akinwale and Sunday Aborisade in Abuja

Senators from the South East geopolitical zone have protest the allocation of five ministerial slots to their region and urged President Bola Tinubu to appoint at least two additional minister, who are of Igbo extraction.

The federal lawmakers insisted that their demand was to ensure fairness and justice in the representation of all geopolitical zones in the Tinubu government.

The Senator representing Anambra North, Tony Nwoye, made the position of the South East senators known in a motion he moved at the plenary.

The remaining 14 other senators from the region were co-sponsors of the motion.

Nwoye complained that the South East region has the lowest ministerial representation among those appointed by President Tinubu.

The Anambra Senator claimed that the gesture of the president in the appointment of ministers contravened Section 5 (a) and 5 (b) as well as Section 4 (1) of the Federal Character Commission Act Laws of the Federation, 2004.

He also said insufficient representation from the South-East region in the Tinubu’s government does not promote national unity and national loyalty as enshrined in section 14 (3) of the 1999 constitution as amended.

Nwoye, therefore, urged the Senate to appeal to Tinubu to make additional appointments of at least two ministers from the South-East to balance geopolitical representation in the Tinubu administration.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio, after the Anambra Senator’s presentation,  promised that the leadership of the Senate would meet with President Tinubu very soon to table the matter before him.

Also, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, has called on President Tinubu to  consider more slots for the South-east region in line with the Federal Character Principle.

Kalu, in a statement yesterday by his Special Assistant on Press Affairs, Udora Orizu, also appealed to the president to consider more slots for  the region in the interest of justice and equity.

He however,  commended the president for fulfilling his promise of having more women and youths in his cabinet.

He said, “I commend our dear President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his choice of Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The President showed magnanimity and fairness by including more women and youths in his cabinet, fulfilling his campaign promises.

“However I appeal to His Excellency to kindly consider more slots for the Southeast region in line with the federal character principle espoused in Section 5(a) (b) Part 3, Section 4(b) Part 1 of the Federal Character Commission Act. I know Mr President as a magnanimous leader, and I appeal to him in the interest of justice, equity give more slots to the southeast.

“I congratulate my sisters and brothers from the Southeast on their confirmation by the Senate and urge them to key into the President’s agenda for a new Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, a Human Rights Lawyers’ group, Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN), has lauded the Senate for not giving in to blackmails but taking the path of justice and fairness, to confirm  a member of the House of Representatives, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo as minister.

Some groups, including a lawyer had been pushing that the Senate should not confirm Tunji-Ojo, due to alleged discrepancies in his Discharge Certificate of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Addressing Journalists at the National Assembly Edward Omaga, President of the Network, and Director of Legal Services,  Denning Akori, said they were at the Senate to monitor the proceedings for the group, having done preliminary investigations into circumstances surrounding the said NYSC certificate.

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