The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) has rejected decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to zone the position of Deputy Speaker in the House Of Representatives to the South East.
According to the group, the decision by the APC is an insult to the political sensibility of the Igbos and stands rejected in its entirety.
COSEYL in a statement signed by its president, Comrade Goodluck Ibem, and publicity secretary, Comrade Okey Nwaoru said the zoning arrangement that led to the emergence of Benjamin Kalu as the APC preferred candidate for the position is shrouded in controversy.
The group alleged that based on the figures from the elections, it is clear that Kalu betrayed the APC presidential candidate, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the gubernatorial candidate of APC in Abia State, Chief Ikechi Emenike as well as his political boss, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
It added that beyond the issue of Kalu, the position of Deputy Speaker for the entire southeast is a relegation of the region in the APC-led federal government and they can’t be eating crumbs.
The statement added that the region believes Peter Obi will reclaim his mandate in court and warned the APC to stop distracting them with such low offers in the political hirachy of Nigeria.
Their statement read: “This charade by the APC is an insult to the political sensibility of Ndigbo and we reject it in its entirety, no matter those behind it.
“The circumstances surrounding the emergence of Benjamin Kalu, who the party has micro zoned the office of deputy speaker to, following the February 25 presidential and national assembly elections, are still mired in a lot of controversy.
“To make the whole picture clearer: on 25th of February, 2023, the Presidential and the National Assembly elections were conducted simultaneously. In Abia State, for example, Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate, polled 327, 095 votes, whereas Ahmed Tinubu, the APC Presidential candidate got 8,914 votes, yet Benjamin Kalu the APC House of Reps candidate was controversially announced as the winner of Bende Federal Constituency with 10,020 votes while the Labour Party (LP) candidate scored 6,688 votes.
“The question begging for an answer is, how will the votes of Bende local government area for House of Reps be higher than the presidential votes from the other 16 local government areas of the state in elections – presidential and parliamentary – that were conducted concurrently nationwide?
“The political landscape of Nigeria has a known trajectory, especially the South East, where voters vote massively for parties. How can a single local government outvote an entire state?
“Benjamin Kalu, it should be known, betrayed the APC presidential candidate, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the gubernatorial candidate of APC in Abia State, Chief Ikechi Emenike which is evident in the votes the APC got in Bende LGA and also betrayed his political boss, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu who picked him and gave him all the necessary support and assistance to be elected into the House of Representatives in 2019.
“While the political goal and aspiration of Ndigbo is beyond the post of the senate president, we cannot talk of endorsing Benjamin Kalu to represent the political interest of the entire South East as a federal parliamentarian holding the post of the Deputy Speaker.
“Igbo are a major ethnic group in Nigeria and cannot be relegated to the background by the APC-led Federal government, no matter the scheming or agenda.
“The post of a deputy speaker is beneath the political aspiration of Ndigbo and we reject and shall continue to resist it. We call on well-meaning sons and daughters of Igbo land to disregard the endorsement of Benjamin Kalu.
“To those who wish to feed from crumbs, your political days are numbered.
“We remain steadfast in the Peter Obi project and call on all political forces of the APC using phantom characters and phoney groups to create factions in the Labour Party in order to minimize Obi’s legal chances, to desist from their actions.
“It is only a sellout that will throw away a mandate the entire nation gave his region, just to accept the office of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, which is the 7th position in the country’s hierarchy of political power and offices.
“Nigeria is our nation, and nobody, whether individual or group, can relegate the Igbo to the background”.