Ben Peters, Abuja
Former Commissioner for Information in Edo State, Prince Kassim Afegbua, on Tuesday, strongly advocated that the South-South geopolitical zone should be allowed to produce the next Senate President.
Afegbua said the zone deserved the position of the Senate President in the 10th Assembly for various reasons.
According to him, it will be a way of acknowledging the support of the zone towards the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu presidency.
Afegbua said, “The zone did not only contribute enormous votes that helped the APC candidate defeat other candidates; it actually surpassed the 25% threshold in the entire six states of the South-South geopolitical zone. It is natural in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice to cede the position to the zone that is a treasure base of the country. Also, it is a way to promote political inclusion, constructive engagement and collective bargaining in the process of deepening democracy in Nigeria.
“The South-East zone has had the opportunity to produce FIVE Senate Presidents in the last twenty four years of this democracy: Senators Enwerem, Okadigbo, Wabara, Anyim and Nnamani. They all at different times held that exalted office in the present democratic dispensation. The South-East geopolitical zone should look elsewhere to seek other positions and not that of Senate Presidency. This position should naturally be ceded to the South-South zone. Even in the past Republics, the South-East had the privilege of presiding over the Senate: Nnamdi Azikiwe and Nwafor Orizu. They’ve had their fair share of that position, and should now allow the South-South zone the opportunity to occupy it.
“In this present democratic journey, the South-South geopolitical zone has never had the privilege of being Senate President. Furthermore, despite its huge strategic importance, both politically and economically, as the treasure base of the country, it has still not been accorded that prestige. It bears repeating to state and emphasize that the South-East geopolitical zone has had the opportunity to produce FIVE Senate Presidents in the last twenty four years of this democratic journey already; plus, the abysmal outcome of the APC in this 2023 General elections in the South-East zone does not support granting the zone the opportunity of such recognition. The total votes recorded in the presidential election result by the APC from the South- East were nothing to write home about. There was an outright conspiracy that decimated the votes for the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Tinubu, in that zone; even though, Senators were still able to rake in votes that made them victorious at the election. While the votes for the now President-elect were abysmally low, it is curious how Senators still emerged with greater number of votes. It is most difficult to reconcile their Presidential and Senatorial election results.
“As the APC believes in the theory of zoning as a way of promoting politics of inclusion, I am of the considered opinion that the South-South geopolitical zone should be given the Senate President’s position at this time. We have ranking Senators from the South-South, and also have other distinguished Senators with varied experience to preside over the 10th Assembly. I wish to appeal to those Senators from the South-East who are presently lobbying for the Senate Presidency to please drop the idea. It is the turn of the South-South to produce the Senate Presidency.”