A group, the Niger Delta Rights Advocate (NDRA), has warned the All Progressives Congress (APC) against denying spokesman of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu and the people of South-East geopolitical zone the position of Deputy Speaker of the Green Chamber of the 10th National Assembly.
NDRA, in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt yesterday, said denying Kalu and the South-East the position of deputy speaker, amounts to “rubbing insult on party loyalty.”
The statement, which was signed by the group’s national coordinator, Hon. Bright Ndolo, said over 100 bullets where pumped into the campaign office of the House of Representatives’ spokesman while he was campaigning for the APC.
It reads in part: “The Niger Delta Rights Advocates (NDRA), a political pressure group and foremost advocacy group on Rights of our indigenous people is constrained to once again intervene on the healthy debate over the formation of the leadership of the yet to be inaugurated 10th National Assembly.
“It is trite in law that equity aids the vigilant and as stakeholders in the Nigerian project and as a group populated by 100% youths who make up atleast 64% of the voting demographics, staying aloof while the future of the nation is being moulded by these debates over proper leadership, would be a disservice to members of the NDRA across the region and the youths of this nation;
“That we believe that the choice of leadership of the National Assembly should not be left to the ruling elite but that citizens and indeed the electorate must have to debate the strengths and weaknesses of the dramatis personae vis-a-vis the performance of the current and past leaderships of the NASS;
“We do believe and rightly so that it remains a moral burden for the nation to consider the inclusion of the South-East zone to the leadership matrix of the nation and the formation of the leadership of the 10th National Assembly presents an auspicious opportunity to us all;
“It is true that the National Working Committee of the APC, which is the ruling party at the centre has presented the post of Deputy Speaker to the South-East and the zone has a plethora of qualified sons and daughters at the House of Representatives especially those of the APC extraction. It is only natural and imperative that one person be projected to occupy the seat of Deputy Speaker.
“If a critical look at the three House of Reps members-elect of the APC extraction is carried out, the capacity of Hon. Kalu shows in the number of bills which he has to his credit, the highest in the entire South-East with 43 to his name and three assented to by Mr President. On motions on national issues of importance, he ranks the highest with 22 to his name;
“On representation, Hon. Kalu has attracted the comparative highest in percentage of value of infrastructure attracted to the South East which runs to billions of Naira;
“On visibility as the Spokesperson of the 9th House of Representatives, for four 4yrs he has defended the House well and projected the image of the Igbo nation better for those of us in the Niger Delta to notice.
“He is a better and acceptable Igbo image for the Igbos even beyond the shores of this country. He is not only visible but cerebral on national discuss;
“In terms of loyalty to party, Hon Kalu fearlessly preached the message of the APC even in the face of danger in the zone. We want Nigerians and the party apparatchik to understand that microzoning the post of Deputy Speaker to Hon. Kalu is a reward for loyalty to the party as the campaign office he erected to market the APC was riddled with over 100 bullets by yet to be identified assailants due to his resilience in harvesting votes for the APC;
“The 10th NASS leadership must be built around character, integrity, popularity, respect for the institution and getting the due of members to ensure even development is attracted across board, Hon. Kalu has the charisma and competence and fits into these skills set.
“It would amount to a great disservice to this nation if emotional and or any other mundane sentiments are put on the table as considerations in the choice of the House leadership.”