A group, the Niger Delta Rights Advocates (NDRA), has applauded the decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for zoning the position of the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives in the 10th National Assembly to the South-East geopolitical zone of the country.
The group further applauded the APC NWC for microzoning the deputy speakership position to Abia State and with the member representing Bende Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu as it’s choice.
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday, NDRA National Coordinator, Hon. Bright Ngolo, said although the position fell below the group’s projection, the APC NWC needs to be applauded for not completely neglecting the agitations that the South-East geopolitical zone must not be neglected by the incoming administration.
Ngolo said: “It should not be a thing of surprise for lobbyists to be active in the polity especially when it comes to the legislature, this is common practice all over the world as far as no laws are broken.
“Today, our lobby and advocacy has led to the zoning of the deputy speakership of the 10th National Assembly to the South East region and a further microzoning to Hon Benjamin, member representing Bende Federal constituency.
“Even though it fell below our projection, we want to thank the National Working Committee of the APC for taking the wise decision of not completely neglecting the agitations and calls by Nigerians across party, ethnic and religious lines, that the South East geopolitical zone should not and must not be excluded from the poltiical leadership of the country at this auspicious moment of our national history.
“We are not surprised at the microzoning of this position to Hon Benjamin Kalu, as we have eloquently enumerated some of the qualities for which we found him fit for leadership of the House of Representatives.
“You may also wish to know for anyone in doubt, that amongst the three members elect from the South-East zone who are members of the ruling APC, Hon Benjamin Kalu has to his credit, the highest number of bills sponsored (43 bills in total), and importantly, he scores the highest in terms of attendance to sittings and the business of the House therefore he ranks more in terms of experience since the other two members of the APC from his zone came in through Court decisions.
“Therefore, ranking in legislative business is a fundamental consideration when it comes to leadership in any parliament.
“NDRA considers the interest of Abia State which is one of the nine (9) states that constitutes the Niger Delta region, as non-negotiable given the fact that by geographical proximity, Abia still falls under the South-East geopolitical zone, we shall not shut our eyes or waiver in our determination to ensure that Abia State is not politically marginalized.
“May we remind Nigerians that the task of including youths into the leadership matrix of the country cannot be overemphasized as the youths remain the most important demographics in terms of population with over 60% of registered voters.
“Therefore, considering Hon Benjamin Kalu, who falls into this critical demographics, cannot be seen as a political mistake but rather, bridge-building decision to ensure that the voices of minorities and the marginalized get heard in the emerging dispensation.
“We do believe that the time is now for banishment of gas flaring, crude oil stealing and militancy and replacing these with entrepreneurship in artisanal and modular refineries and consciously promoting a green environment to save our unborn generation.
“Finally, we appeal to members-elect from other political divides and stakeholders alike to support and endorse the emergence of the APC’s preferred candidate for the position of Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives in the interest of national unity.”