Speakership: Coalition drums support for Kalu, urges zoning to South-East
By EricJames Ochigbo
A coalition of Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) has called on the All Progressive Congress (APC) to zone the office of Speaker in the 10th Assembly to the South-East.
The coalition, under the auspices of Civil Society Groups for Good Governance (CSGGG) made the call at a news conference in Abuja on Friday.
The National Convener and Lead of the coalition, Chief Dominic Ogakwu said that the APC should support the spokesman for the house, Rep. Benjamin Kalu to emerge speaker.
He said that the ruling APC is on the cusp of history to demonstrate that equity, inclusivity and justice are the principles on which the party is built.
According to him, this is paramount as the party reaches a decision on zoning of key officers for the 10th National Assembly, especially for the House of Representatives.
“As members of civil society, we hold the view without equivocation that equity and fairness demand that the South East should produce the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“It is for this reason that we call on the APC as the majority party in the National Assembly to zone the Office of Speaker of the House of Reps to the South East.
“It is not just to reflect federal character and support a balanced power sharing formula in the country, but because the South-East has the potential and capacity for the office.
“There is a sense of alienation and marginalization amongst the people of the zone by the APC, which though we do not share, but agree as legitimate concern.
“As a country that just emerged from an electoral process that is benighted by divisive tendencies, history beckons on APC to demonstrate that it is inclusive, equitable and responsive to all parts of the country, particularly the South East,” he said.
Ogakwu said that as a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious country, it is urgent and imperative that the APC promotes the tenets of Federal Character.
He said between 2007 to date, the office had been zoned to North-West, South-West, North-East and South-West stressing the need to zone it to South-East in 2023.
Ogakwu said the the group was rooting for Kalu because of his capacity, ability and widespread consensus.
He said Kalu had demonstrated panache, zest, ability and capacity as Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs as evidenced in the launch of the first ever magazine of the parliament called, “The Green Chamber Magazine.”
“It is established that he ranks as one of the most active members in the sponsorship of bills and motions which has seen him ranked in the top 10 members of the House by bill sponsorship.
“Kalu has remained a loyal party man and worked tirelessly for the election of the President-elect and has not shied away from defending the mandate.
“He is a lawmaker packed with rich political pedigree, one of several veritable attributes for the Speakership,” he said.
Ogakwu said Kalu will not only ensure the independence of the house as the peoples’ assembly, but work with the Senate and Executive in advancing democratic ethos and the common good of all Nigerians through constructive oversight and engagement.
He said as members of civil society, Kalu towers above all others especially from the South East to occupy the Speakership of the 10th House of Reps owing to his global and private work experience.
Ogakwu said that the group is mobilizing youths from all the geo-political zones to lobby and galvanise their contacts and leverage in this regard.