By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—AHEAD of the election of the principal officers of the 9th National Assembly, the youth wing of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youths, has cautioned the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, against sidelining the Igbo in electing the leaders, warning that Igbo people are not second class citizens.
Ohanaeze youths said that any attempt by APC to treat Ndigbo as second class citizens would be resisted. They argued that Ndigbo deserved a better treatment from the ruling party to reciprocate the improved support the party had gained in Igbo land.
Specifically, the Igbo youths, in particular demanded that APC zones the speakership of the 9th National Assembly to the South East, saying anything short of that will be seen as the continued marginalisation of Ndigbo in the political equation of Nigeria.
In a statement signed by the National Deputy Youth Leader, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Kingsley Dozie, Ohanaeze youths said that “it is a big insult and an affront to the Igbo nation that the South-East geopolitical zone is not being considered by the APC for any key principal position in the 9th National Assembly leadership”.
Frowning at the party’s non-inclusion of the South East zone on the list of zones to produce the presiding officers of the 9th Assembly, Ohanaeze youths condemned the decision of the APC leadership to endorse Senator Ahmed Lawan from North East for Senate President and Femi Gbajabiamila from South West for the Speaker, House of Representatives, saying that South West which already has the Vice President should not also be given the Speaker of the House of Representatives if there is equity and fairness in Nigeria.
“We query the justification in zoning the presiding officers of the National Assembly to regions that already have fair shares to the neglect of areas that have nothing at all.
“We contend that since the President and Vice President came from the North and West respectively, justice and equity demand that either the Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives should come from South East.
“Since the APC has already zoned the Senate Presidency to the North East and the Deputy to South South, South East should be allowed to produce the Speaker of the House of Representatives.”