By Chinedu Adonu
With one voice, the National Assembly members South East Zone have raised a dirge that the zone is being shortchanged in the number of senators and House of Representatives members from the zone compared to other zones.
The NASS members made the lamentation during South East Open Square programme organised by Daria Media in collaboration with Channels TV, and sponsored by MacArthur foundation held in Enugu at the weekend.
Open Square programme is a meeting organised to engage the South East National lawmakers and their constituents.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, the former deputy Senate president, Senator Ike Ekweremadu stressed the need for an extra state for South East region of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“South East deserves an extra state to match up with other regions in the country, especially in the areas of governance and distribution of resources.
“The ratio of lawmakers from the region to those from other geopolitical zones; the disproportionate ratio is affecting the South East representation in the National Assembly.
“The number is lopsided because of the way the states were created. Right now, South East has just five states while others have seven and six. At the Senate, with three senators per state, the South East has just 15 senators, while other regions have 18 and 21.
“When it comes to voting, even in terms of resources distribution, we are short-changed.
“I believe that the fair thing to do is for the country to agree for us to have an extra state for the South East, so that it will enable us to match with the rest of the country in terms of opportunity at the National Assembly,” he said.
On infrastructural development, Ekweremadu demanded for fairness and equity for the region, stressing that work should go on pari passu with other regions, saying “no one region should be overlooked”.
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“If you want to construct a rail line from Lagos to Kano which is of national interest because it is a good corridor, but you are not seeing anything happening in the eastern corridor – between Port Harcourt and Maiduguri, there is a conflict.”
“Naturally, I will speak for my people, if you are spending money for the western corridor, you should also spend for the eastern corridor; if you don’t have money for both of them, then you have to wait.
“We need equity, we need justice, we need fairness for you to have a country that you can say is democratic,” he added.
Senators who featured on the program include Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe of Abia South Senatorial District; Senator Uche Ekwunife of Anambra Central District, Senator Obinna Ogba of Ebonyi central senatorial district and Senator Ike Ekweremadu of Enugu West Senatorial district.
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