As Nigerians eagerly await the composition of the 10th National Assembly and emergence of its principal officers, a former aspirant for the position of Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, has cautioned that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) risks worsening disaffection against the party by people of the South East if the region is denied the opportunity to produce principal officers in the 10th assembly.
Kalu, who hails from Abia State and represents the Bende Federal Constituency, was endorsed for the position of Deputy Speaker when the APC National Working Committee zoned principal National Assembly offices to different geopolitical regions last week.
But the zoning arrangement as well as the endorsements announced by the NWC was rejected by some of the aspirants vying for the Senate, Deputy Senate, Speaker and Deputy Speaker offices.
Speaking on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics programme on Sunday night, Kalu emphasized that the South East deserves equal opportunities for its representatives to occupy principal officer positions, be it Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Senate President, or Deputy Senate President, as dictated by the principles of equity, fairness, and inclusivity.
He said how the party addresses the legitimate aspirations of the South-East region will not only impact the party’s electoral fortunes but will also serve as test of their commitment to national unity and inclusivity.
“When you talk about nation building you forget about sentiments, you forget about emotions and look at the strongest argument and the strongest argument here is how do we make a diversity sensitive leadership, nation-building effort that will incorporate all the beautiful efforts of all the diverse part of the country coming together to work for what we peach? It’s by unity, peace and progress.
“You may recall that in the last four years, the South-East was not holding any of the presiding officers’ position and it has impacted on this election, among other things. I can assure you, if you neglect South-East again, a whole zone in such sensitive position, then you battle again in 2027, that is a big risk for any great planner to take.
“If you start now to plan and adopt this spirit of inclusion, South-East is going to yield a better harvest than what was yielded before,” Kalu stated.