…says Kalu, others failed to deliver, cannot be rewarded for failure
A former Commissioner for Information in Edo State, Prince Kassim Afegbua, has maintained that the leader of Nigeria’s 10th Senate must be produced by the South-South geopolitical zone due to the region’s vital importance to the country’s economic survival and its formidable contribution to the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February presidential contest.
Afegbua repeated this call in a recent media interview where he emphasised the South-South’s peculiar status as the country’s “treasure base”, while noting the failure of other regional contenders vying for the Senate Presidency to either satisfy the need for geo-political balancing or make the difference for the party at the polls.
“The South South region is the resource and treasure base of the country. It is a zone so important and fundamental to our collective existence as a nation,” he said in a clear reference to the zone’s oil and gas deposits, a fact that makes it the largest contributor to the country’s national revenue and invariably the sponsor of developmental projects across the nation.
In addition to that, Afegbua said, “The contribution of the South-South to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s emergence as the next president is not something we can toy with, knowing full well that the region has been the bedrock of the PDP as a political party and the opposition in Nigeria’s democratic history since 1999.
“The APC’s performance in the South-South was formidable in the presidential election and that played a crucial role in aiding the president-elect’s attainment of the constitutional requirements of the plurality of votes and 25 percent vote share in two-thirds of states.”
He argued further that zoning the Senate Presidency to the South-South offers the APC the best path to achieve regional and religious balancing, thus assuaging critics of the party’s Muslim-Muslim ticket while also debunking the malicious propaganda of those accusing the party of pursuing a sectional and non-inclusive agenda.
Knocking Orji Uzor Kalu and others who have called for the zoning of the position to the South-East zone, Afegbua claimed that the former PDP chieftain must first explain the huge disparity between the number of votes that returned him to the Senate and the meagre few that went to the party’s presidential candidate when both elections were conducted on the same day, in the same process.
“Senator Orji Uzor Kalu did not work for our party in the presidential election. The evidence of this lies in the fact that whilst he was able to score thousands of votes to win his own election, our presidential candidate was given negligible numbers. This points at a possible conspiracy in which Senator Kalu and others so elected from the region, agreed to a ‘protect me, I protect you’ arrangement with the opposition at the expense of our presidential candidate,” Afegbua said.
He concluded that it would be most unfair if those who did not play any meaningful role in the party’s victory and have struggled to shake off allegations of connivance with the opposition in the election are rewarded with a major political prize such as the Senate Presidency when more deserved options are available.