by Chris Nomjov
It appears the Ndigbo is not bothered about the imminent absence of the South-East from top leadership positions in the Senate and House of Representatives; former Anambra State governor, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, has said.
However, radical member of the Second Republic House of Representatives, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, yesterday, put the plight of the region to its decision to put all their eggs in one basket, even as renowned economist, Dr. Pat Utomi, cautioned All Progressives Congress, APC to ensure that it gives a fair representation to all sections of the country.
The reactions came as APC, which is set to take over the Presidency and the National Assembly, denied taking a decision on the zoning of the top positions of government.
The party’s assertion nonetheless, there are indications that APC had zoned the office of Senate President to the North-Central with Senators Bukola Saraki and George Akume as the major contenders.
Other principal positions in the two chambers are being contested by the North-East, North-West and South-West. The South-South, which only has one returning member to the House of Representatives, is also angling for the office of Deputy Speaker.
The South-East, which has no returning member of APC in the Senate and the House of Representatives, has been completely left out of any of the principal officers’ positions.
Reacting to the development yesterday, Chief Ezeife, who governed Anambra State between 1992 and 1993 said: “I do not see anything wrong with what APC had done.
“What the party has done is in line with their convention. I do not see any reason why people should be worried about the fate of the Igbo.
“We are not worried. Only those who do not see us as people of destiny are worried. However, there are lessons to be learned from the outcome of things. But we are not worried because lessons have been learned.”
In his remarks, Dr Mohammed said the decision of Ndigbo to put all their eggs in one basket will have consequences politically.
He said: “I must say I do not have the privilege of seeing what the incoming government, led by APC, has drafted in terms of zoning offices.
“However, it is evident that the Igbo mobilized towards one candidate and I think APC is justified for not zoning any major office to their zone.
“APC is absolutely justified with the arrangement of not zoning any major office to the South-East. If they are given some of the big positions, what will other zones like North-West, who gave the President-elect big votes, ask for?
“So I think it will be stupid to give big positions like Senate President or Secretary to the Government to the South-East zone when the zones that gave bloc votes to the President-elect will just be watching.”
On his part, Professor Utomi said he expects APC to ensure equal representation from the geo-political zones even as he played down comments on the issue as he said the party had not come out with a categorical policy on the issue.
Pressed further, he said: “What is favour and what is not favour? I think any political party that wants to govern effectively would seek effective representation from across the country in the executive and legislative leadership of that country.”
Meanwhile, APC has urged Nigerians to disregard the wild speculations making the rounds concerning the appointment of ministers and the zoning of offices under the incoming Buhari administration.
In a statement in Abuja on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, APC said there was no truth to anything that had been dished out by the rumour mill concerning the issues of appointment, especially the zoning of the National Assembly’s principal positions and other offices.
It said in the true tradition of APC, all issues of public interest will be handled transparently and conveyed to Nigerians through the usual communication channels.
The party said: “No appointments have been made and no offices have been zoned. The main concern of our party at the moment is to ensure a smooth transition and to hit the ground running in the overall interest of the long-suffering people of Nigeria.
“At the appropriate time, Nigerians will be informed of the appointments made and the offices zoned.”