All Progressives Congress and S’East dilemma (2)

Saraki-OK

Saraki

POLITICAL pundits are unanimous in pointing out that if a deputy Senate president had emerged out of PDP but from any other geopolitical zone except the South-East, the APC would have buried its hatchet and sheathed its sword long ago.

For the APC, they reason, it is unthinkable and an affront on the party for a zone that overwhelmingly voted against it to occupy such a sensitive seat.

This is the untold truth about the present quagmire bedevilling the upper chamber leadership and the Igbos are not oblivious of that. Had the South-East not grabbed this chance, it is obvious that the APC were poised to ensure that they paid dearly for their political decision in the 2015 general election.

If the Speaker of the House in the person of Yakubu Dogara hails from the North-West and the Deputy Speaker in the person of Yussuf Lasun comes South-West, natural justice demands that the remaining four principal offices should be shared among the remaining four geopolitical zones including the South-East’’

The simple interpretation is that for the second time, the APC has manifested its anti-Igbo posture but are far from succeeding this time around since the process that brought Ekweremadu was not only constitutional, but also that the PDP which commands a sizeable number in the Red Chamber will never let go of this one precious position it gallantly secured, not even for any ethno-religious consideration.

The PDP had ample opportunity to as much as secure the Senate Presidency on that fateful day, but wisely, it resisted the temptation to betray trust and this will go a long way in winning for it, a lot of goodwill from the opposition and any other group that may have dealings with it in the future.

At the Lower House, the APC, not putting anything to chance has concluded arrangements to ensure that the South East comes nowhere near the leadership position in the Green Chambers even when natural justice has providentially made it in such a way that South East must occupy one (even if the least) of the leadership positions available in the House.

The party reportedly zoned the position of House Majority Leader to the South-West; Chief Whip to the North-East; Deputy Leader to the North-West; and Deputy Whip to the South-South leaving the South-East with nothing.

Although Nigeria’s democracy and most other democracies support the principle of ‘winner takes all,’ the Nigerian Constitution has an antidote to this ‘winner-takes-all’ philosophy embedded in the Federal Character principle.

Except for any major upset, the APC by this arrangement is on the verge of making a third bold statement that the Igbos have no future in the party.

They forget so easily that although the party lost in the zone, there were a few individuals who worked tirelessly to ensure that the party’s presence was felt in the region and that these individuals deserve a pat in the back, not ostracism.

Two of such persons are in the House of Representatives and are favoured by natural justice to occupy a leadership position irrespective of their rankings.

Speaker House of Representatives , Yakubu Dogara raising the Gavel after his election during the the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday. PHOTO: Ladidi Lucy Elukpo.

Speaker House of Representatives , Yakubu Dogara raising the Gavel after his election during the the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday. PHOTO: Ladidi Lucy Elukpo.

If the Speaker of the House in the person of Yakubu Dogara hails from the North-West and the Deputy Speaker in the person of Yussuf Lasun comes South-West, natural justice demands that the remaining four principal offices should be shared among the remaining four geopolitical zones including the South-East.

But that may not likely be as the party may have zoned the position of House Majority Leader to the South-West, targeting Femi Gbajabiamila; Chief Whip to the North-East, eyeing Mr. Mohammed Monguno from Borno State; Deputy Leader to the North-West with an eye on Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa from Kano State; and Deputy Whip to the South-South with Mr. Pally Iriase from Edo State in mind.

For lack of a ranking member from the South-East, the zone clearly will most likely not produce any leader and the APC is not likely to invoke any ‘Doctrine of necessity’ (which would have been the next option) to pacify the zone.

The body language of the party and in consonance with its seemingly ‘avowed’ pathway does not suggest that it is willing to go that way.

Finally, the emergence of Ekweremadu as deputy Senate president may have implicitly given the APC a leeway to deny the South-East the position of the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF).

There is serious apprehension that the position which seemed foreclosed for the South-East may have also been lost as the APC will most likely ventilate its anger for the zone by ceding the position to another geopolitical.

If that happens, and when it does, the APC will have succeeded in making four bold statements reflecting its irritation for the people of the South-East, nay—Igbos.

They will have also succeeded in answering the question posed earlier in this article about the future of Igbos under the umbrella of the APC. The Igbos are watching with sealed lips and would speak up at the right time. Concluded.

• Ohiri is public affairs commentator in Lagos. 07052415807. • Editor’s Note: This piece had been processed before the impasse in the House of Representatives was resolved in line with the party preference.

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